Atmosfera Magazine [February 2008]
Taboo for t.A.T.u.
Turns, curves, bends of Mosfilm Studio corridors. t.A.T.u. agreed to meet right here, at the inner sanctum of Russian cinema. Yulia s got a huge tummy - it s her last month of pregnancy and together with Lena they are waiting for the shooting to start. (Yulia gave birth to a son when this issue was prepared - and we congratulate her with this magazine note). While tech people are getting ready with the equipment, the girls are sharing an apple one for two even though it s not the last.
t.A.T.u. are not filming another provocative video at Mosfilm Studio; the larger form cinema - is the priority now. Back in May filming of the movie based on Alexey Mitrofanov s book t.A.T.u. Come Back had started in Moscow. The scale is a Hollywood one the legendary Roland Joffe ( Vatel , The Mission , The Scarlett Letter ) was invited as a director. One of the leading roles is played by American actress Mischa Barton.
In the plot there s a love story between two girls, t.A.T.u. fans. Lena and Yulia play themselves and provide the heavy sound for the movie. The premiere s planned in spring, and not just anywhere but in Cannes.
The equipment is ready. Camera rolls! Action! Lena and Yulia record their lines in two languages, Russian and English the movie is going to be released internationally.
While t.A.T.u. girls are playing actresses, Yulia Volkova s future husband and her second baby s father Parvis tells us some good news: the video Beliy Plaschik is ? 1 on YouTube and MTV websites in reviews and comments.
At this point we find out that this song was composed by a real fan a sixteen year old schoolgirl from Saint-Petersburg. The girl posted her poetry at the t.A.T.u. home page. The poetry was so good that after a slight alteration it was turned into a song. The video was then filmed in which a prostitute Lena Katina turns into an executor and shoots pregnant Yulia Volkova
It must have been hard to play in such a video, I guess: Nazi Germany, a jail, a very realistic execution scene?
Julia Volkova: It was ok. We actually never really get physiologically ready to do something. Here it was performance, the shooting. We ve invented such a story with an execution ourselves, and we lived it ourselves as actresses.
There s a tough ending in your video. Why all this naturalism?
Julia: The sense of the video is lost without such finale. We wanted to catch a viewer...
To tell it metaphorically that killing a child is almost like a real execution. Actually this video s against abortions, against violence, against cruelty. If a girl changes her mind and won t get an abortion after watching our video, it means the video was worth it.
Julia, are you a superstitious person? You are really pregnant in the video after all, what if something could have happened to the baby?
Julia: I m not superstitious, but I m religious. You see, I do perceive playing in this video as a performance. So many actors died in the cinema, they were buried in coffins So what? They are all good and alive.
What is a consolation for you in everyday life?
Julia: And my consolation, if I can call it so, is my family. I ve met a person I want to be with and I no longer have a wish to look for anybody else. Such constancy is very unusual for me, by the way. I loved parties, night clubs before. Now I enjoy staying at home.
I can't imagine you in a role of a wife in a traditional understanding of this word.
Julia: Yeah. I understand what you mean. I also never could imagine this I m home, with my darling, and I have no wish to go anywhere.
Lena: (interrupts): Before Yulka was totally different. Now I call her, for example, and I ask, What are you doing? And she goes, I m doing the dishes . You?! The dishes?! When I hear this, I m ready to almost fall from the chair!
Julia: So what s weird here? It s not difficult for me to get things done in the house. Parvis (listening to the talk closely): Of course it s not difficult when there re two housemaids.
Julia: It might look funny from outside, but honestly - I met a man for whom I want to make the place feel like it s home. Now the person I love is with me.
Mother for the Second Time
Julia, you re a mother for the second time already. Lena, why are you late?
Julia: She just hasn t met the person she needs. Although Lena had many.
Julia: I think many for your age. And we don t count, for example, one night stands. I m talking about strong feelings, real relationship. I m sure there will be a man Lena wants to build a family and kids with, but later.
By the way, Julia, did you think about an abortion when you got pregnant the first time at 18 years?
Julia: I had doubts whether I should have the baby or not. When I realized I was pregnant, first I was shocked. 18 years, the career s ahead. And here you must have a break for a year or even more. Lena supported me so much. She's more than a friend for me, we ve been through so many things together.
Lena: I remember the moment Yulia told me she was pregnant. It was the period of t.A.T.u. In Underheaven project (a reality-show based on the life of t.A.T.u.) She told me everything and asked, What shall we do? I answered, Have this baby, of course!
Julia: First Lenka supported me, and then my parents did. And doubts were gone. I should give birth!
Do you remember the feelings you had about being a mother at such a young age?
Julia: Probably, confusion. I was a little girl myself and here s a baby. I can t say maternity changed me much. I wasn t ready to sit home with a baby. Literally two months after a childbirth I left for the US to record a new album. My daughter Vika stayed with my parents and a nurse. I missed her like crazy, I carried her teddy bear with me. However I had no wish to become, you know, a stay-at-home mom knitting scarves and slippers. I think woman should be strong, active, initiative. She should not cross her professional career after having a child .
Does your daughter see her father?
Julia: No. Vika's got a father - Parvis. Why encourage the contacts of that man with Vika? Yes, it was fast passion etc
I'll never regret I had Vika, but I don't think we need relationships with her father. I have a new family, new relationship. And I have my daughter with me: Victoria Volkova.
Did you baptize your daughter? Is Lena her godmother by any chance?
Julia: Not Lena. Vika s god-parents are my father and her nurse. Honestly speaking I didn t even go to the ceremony. I didn t want to attend and create publicity around it, to draw media's attention. I asked the priest if it's ok that a mother is not present at the ceremony. He said it's ok.
Is Vika living with you now?
Julia: No, she lives with a nanny in her [Vika s] apartment. The case is, me and Parvis bought a new apartment and it is being renovated now. I don't think a baby would feel good in the middle of paint and dust, but as soon as renovation s finished, we'll all move there.
Surrounded by Cameras
Lena, when Yulia told you that she s pregnant again, how did you react?
Lena: I jumped up to the ceiling. It is such happiness! Especially to have a baby from the man who loves her and whom she loves. I like Parvis very much. I like that Yulka feels happy with him!
Julia: I didn t doubt a second - to give birth or not. I just informed everybody I will, and that's it. I'm not eighteen anymore. Twenty three after all!
Julia, why did you hypnotize people telling you re going to give birth and broadcast the process?
Julia: I was so damn annoyed by media with various questions and I just joked, The whole country will see the birth! And in a split second all newspapers spread the news. I'm not going to give birth like that. What for? You're lying so green, sweaty, wet. Maybe some pregnant girl sees this horror on TV and changes her mind to give birth.
So t.A.T.u. also has its taboo after all: To give birth and broadcast it live is not for you. Any plans after the important event? As I expect you re not going to stay home?
Julia: I m not. The new album Waste Management is out in spring. By waste we mean not only waste that disturbs normal people, but also negative emotions. Everyone should fight his inner negativity... We plan to shoot one more video, then concerts, promo-tour. A load of work.
I see your life s booked for the next few months. And there were people who didn t believe t.A.T.u. stayed alive after you left your ex-producer Ivan Shapovalov. Do you keep in touch with him now?
Julia: No. We ve no common interests. Ivan helped us very much back then, but it happens in business that people choose different directions. Me and Lenka, we ve never regret that we left. Fortunately we parted peacefully and everything was civilized, no courts. We ve no negative feelings towards Ivan. Let everything be ok with him. And we are ok already.
How do you see your future in twenty years?
Julia: And I see myself on stage! Take Madonna, she performs at fifty and it's ok. Although It can also happen that one morning I wake up and understand that I want to be a pilot. Everything can happen.
Lena: Yulek, you'll sing 'Not Gonna Get Us' before taking off!
Russian BRAVO #7 [ 20th February 2008]
Show Must Go On
BRAVO: Hi, Yulia! How's your mood?
Hi, I'm great, we keep on working...
We've heard you're going to release some special disc soon?
Yes, it will be a "Beliy Plaschik" single. There'll be a lot of interesting stuff there: one hour long film about making of the video, remixes, karaoke version, and the main thing - full version of "Beliy Plashik" which wasn't shown on TV.
What will be there in this full version? Some hard-core?
No-o-o, there will be the beauty!
By the way, you were acting in this video while extremely pregnant - it must've been hard?
Not at all! The hardest thing was to fly to US, 12 hours on the plane! Actually I felt great during the pregnancy. Don't believe everything they write! Lots of absurd stuff was written about me those days - that I'm dying, that my legs are swollen... I felt great, I flew by plane, I was performing, I was shooting videos - it was all great!
So, have you already got into shape after the pregnancy by now?
Yes, now I work at full power, rushing on my doings... In the end of February we are flying to the US again - to shoot a new video. I'm not going to comment it yet. I can just say it will be released approximately in March. And we'll shoot it in Los Angeles with the same crew as always.
It looks like a new album should follow the video...
We are finishing new songs now, so album is surely to be released this spring! We've got many concerts planned for March and April in some Russian cities, in US, in Italy, in Dubai.. I hope all of this will come about.
Yes, things are humming! And what about your baby?
Well, I won't disappear for half a year. I'll travel but-and-ben, there and back, two weeks there and two weeks at home. And when I'm absent, the father, nannies and grannies take care of the baby.
And your daughter is living with you now?
No, she's in her apartment so far... There are maintenance works now in our two-floor apartment. When it is finished - I will take Vika to us, we'll live as one big family.
But is she acquainted with the brother?
Of course, she comes and takes a walk with us... She doesn't understand for now that it's her brother, personally hers. She thinks it's just a little baby. She looks at him, she touches him, and she's all interested.
And how is it now going with Parvis?
It's all very good! We've got a family, a baby, we plan a wedding this summer, we'll marry in a church... And we want to make a wedding not in Moscow, but somewhere on islands!
So, Parvis is not against your starting your work so soon?
He's not! 'Cause music - it's a part of my life, and he's glad to see me so busy with my meetings and plans! He likes the things I like, and vice versa, we support each other. And why should I sit at home?
And does Lenka support you?
Sure, she does very much! But mostly by the phone now - she went to relax on Cuba Island. Soon she'll be back and we'll see each other!
What was her birthday gift for your baby?
A carpet, all decorated with toys and rattles, very cool! She was the first to congratulate us, by the way, the same day we came home.
Probably, Lena also wants to have a baby, watching you?
Sure, she wants, and she also wants to make a family. Now it's OK between her and her boyfriend, so we'll see...
And she probably questions you about how is it - to give birth?
Of course! She asks me - I share the experience... It's interesting!
So, do you actually have a spare time now? And how do you spend it?
Me and Parvis, we care of our health, we use to go to SPAs, to a swimming pool, to massage... Actually, I became more quiet than before. I think it depends a lot on a person close to you. We spend all our free time together with Parvis. It would be weird for me now to go somewhere alone. If my girl-friends call, for example, and invite me to a cafe to have a chat, I won't hurry to go to see them on alone, I won't even have such an idea!
Don't you miss parties?
Nope, and we aren't staying under hatches! For example, yesterday we went out to sing karaoke with our friends.
And what did you sing there?
Everything what they rotate on radio now, everything what our pop-artists try to sing, and I also sang it. It was fun! You know, parties - it's cool, but sometimes you wish to have a dinner just with your beloved man, in candle light.
Tell us the last thing - about the new t.A.T.u. album? What it will be like?
It's hard to tell, two precedent albums were very different as a matter of fact, and this album also will be a very special one. Lots of electronic sound is in the music now... The album will be a smashing one, that's for sure!
In Russian, and in English. For all fans all-around the world!
Have you finally decided to call the album "Waste Management"?
Yes! The reason has nothing to do with ecological problems, but deals with living in the world full of negative feelings.
Best For Magazine #7 [April 24 - May 7, 2008]
"Life is tension"
Who can you name as your guru in music, whose creative work you could call flawless?
Julia Volkova: We have no "ideals". And maybe that's why the things we do are original.
How can you describe your fans?
Julia Volkova: Crazy. Free. Understanding.
Did you ever have stories about crazy fans that annoyed you?
Julia Volkova: Of course we did. But it's a part of our life. We should accept it or we just shouldn't be artists.
Do you have limits when it comes to "shock" issue? Or everything is possible on the stage?
Julia Volkova: In "Beliy Plashik" video Lena's character executes my pregnant character. People may say t.A.T.u. can do everything to stay a shocking and scandalous band. But... there was a message at our forum a few days ago from some guy who showed the video "Beliy Plaschik" to his girl friend who 100% decided to make an abortion. And after a while he met her and she was...expecting a baby. Can you imagine this? I don't know the role of "Plaschik" in this story, but even if it's just 1% - it's just amazing.
After so many years of the successful work what can you say about Russian show-business? Some people routinely scare us with some "gay mafia"...
Julia Volkova: And we actually have no show-business, I think...
You started with lesbian girls story and now you're kind of straight girls, even the maternity affects you in a good way. And how should those young gays and lesbians feel who've believed you were one of them? It was a lie?
Julia Volkova: I didn't quite get it, the maternity has nothing to do with being or not being gay. Gay couples can also raise children.
Can an open gay become popular today?
Julia Volkova: Yes, he or she can. Even in our country.
Did you change your attitude towards sexual minorities after your short participation in a Moscow Gay Pride?
Julia Volkova: And not to the advantage of the latter. It's a pity our country can hardly perceive the idea that each one has the right to be whoever he or she wants.
The homosexual propaganda is being discussed in media. I'm gay and it's funny for me to read about it: Not a single gay man began to desire women after watching sex with a woman. What's propaganda of homosexuality for you?
Julia Volkova: Probably I didn't experienced it close enough, but I think there's too much aggression and violence in our society in general.
What can embarrass you?
Julia Volkova: Embarrass? Right now - probably nothing.
What plans do you have for a couple of upcoming months?
Julia Volkova: Besides, we're preparing two big releases at the same time. In the end of April - beginning of May we're releasing hyperion-plate "Beliy Plaschik" together with SOUZ (we invented this term "hyperion-plate" ourselves in honor of Hyperion treatment plant in Los Angeles ) and closer to June fans will finally get our new studio album - "Upravleniye Otbrosami".
Don't you ever have a wish to change something in your life? Aren't you bored with this routine - singles-videos-albums-tours- singles-videos-albums-tours?
Julia Volkova: Listen, it's all vice versa, everything's changing in our life all the time. Except the fact we're the t.A.T.u. band for about 9 years.
You probably can afford yourselves a lot. Are there still some unobtainable things for you?
Julia Volkova: I think we don't actually need to, Len. Life is tension.
YouTube as well. And there is a singer Alina Orlova - links to her songs are all over blogosphere. You won't find them on TV.
How could one navigate in such media situation? How could one understand what's hot?
Julia: Listen, is it actually important for an artist to be on TV? We, for example, exist regardless of it! Furthermore, you just said that it all moves into the Web now, all young people are there (well, at least every second) and success there is much more important than being in some "Russian 10", I think. We give interviews, we appear on some events, we play shows - why should we need a TV?
Well, maybe because it will be filled with real trash without you.
Julia: I agree - you turn on some music channel after midnight - and you see only whores! Or I don't know how to say...
It's called "singing panties".
Julia: Well, it's actually clear who they are. And there are so many of them! Some "Berries", "Kalinki"... they can't sing, just open their mouth, they don't even have a sparkle in their eyes! Just some dumb girl finds a male with cash and tells him:
"I want to sing!" Many talentless people came to TV, what a shame. There're talented people around, but unfortunately nobody needs them. They can do nothing without money and acquaintances.
And 10 years ago you turn on a music channel and you see "Mumiy-Troll", "Zemfira"...
Julia: And now you've got "Kalinki"!And channels also cared about it. And now you give money - they'll air you, you give nothing - they won't. It doesn't matter how talented you are, just close the door and get lost. There's no show-business in Russia. Everything's purchased and "fake".
And how did this happen?
Julia: And nobody will change it, everybody's ok with it. It's hard to discuss this topic for me. I think show-business and Russia - it's such a difficult subject... I can only call it shit and say there're some real waste there.
What are the chances of t.A.T.u.'s new album then - what do you think?
Julia: You know, we never guess or plan such things. We just do what's interesting for us, and it's definitely not to sing one song together with those "berries-malinkis". That's why we don't want to plan anything, we just know one thing: We'll try to make it to Europe and America. We're creating contemporary music, and our popularity on the Web proves it, and our songs get into world video charts too. You can't see us in Moscow, but it doesn't matter. The only sad thing is that our Russian fans suffer.
But we do work, we just aren't "their type of". People we have to deal with tell us: "The lyrics are too complicated, it's not our type of thing, we need something more simplified, kalinki-berries, "I love you - I don't love you", dancing panties on the background of white wall". That's all, they need nothing more.
BRAVO Magazine [September 2008]
A few Russian stars can really boast with a successful career on the West, and as for t.A.T.u. - they easily can. Recently Yulia and Lena presented special Marc by Marc Jacobs project in Russia and told BRAVO all the details!
Girls, tell us, whose idea it was to work together, designer Marc Jacobs' or yours?
Julia: We actually had quite an interesting story. Some time ago Marc has visited Moscow. He had a show here and a private after-party we were invited to. At the party we got acquainted and even photographed together. Marc turned out to be our fan, he said he loved our songs. So our dialog was finished at that point. And just recently our PR-manager called me and told there was an offer from Marc Jacobs Russian agents to headline Marc Jacobs PR project!
So what was your reaction? You immediately agreed?
Julia: I really love fashion and I guess I am about to get into the Guinness Book of World Records soon with my huge wardrobe. (Laughs). I've got lo-o-o-ots of shoes and high shoes by Marc. Lena and me, we received so many advertising offers, but we always refused. Because the offers were empty: sparkling water of some sort. But Marc is Marc. And it's very honorable to work with him I think.
Who picked clothes for you during the photoshoot? Was it a specially trained stylists or maybe Marc himself?
Lena: (Sighs) No, alas, Marc didn't attend the photoshoot... Tough there were stylists. But we used their services just in some measure. It's impossible to dress us in clothes which don't fit us, after all. So Yulia even had to fight them a bit. (Smiles). By the way, the shooting took place in the most natural atmosphere: the boutique was not closed, and clients were permanently coming in! While they were choosing and buying things, the photographer and stylists flied around us.
Julia: Well, I wouldn't call it "to fight". (Laughs). I decided to take the process in my hands just because I know our style and I immediately see what goes against it. For example, everything short and tiny suits me for 100%.
How many dresses did you change during this photoshoot?
Julia: No, not two, we had three images. I felt very comfortable in every sample of clothing. Maybe because I chose it myself.
And you definitely bought something after the photoshoot, right?
Julia: Yes, we were extremely tired... We've started at about 12 and finished just at 9 o'clock in the evening. But the dresses we were shot in are waiting for us in the boutique. The deal is it's just to come and to take them. Unfortunately we don't have time to do it at the moment.
A brand, how much is it important for you actually?
Julia: As for me, I think each girl should have two brandy things, if possible - a bag and a pair of shoes. Speaking about my personal wardrobe, I still try to wear well-known brands. Though I can easily buy a t-shirt from a teen-store.
And would you buy a thing in a second, if you would really like one?
Julia: Pardon, where?
I mean in a second-hand store. They sell worn stuff there.
Julia: (Smiles). A-a-a-ah! I see. To be honest, I have never even come in such.
HELLO! Magazine