GRAZIA Magazine [27th February 2009]
It's Time to Love!
On the eve of St.Valentin's Day Grazia Magazine has asked seven brightest couples in Moscow about their plans, how will they celebrate this holiday.
Parviz Yasinov and Yulia Volkova:
We actually don't know yet if we celebrate this St.Valentin's Day. It's not that important to us as a birthdays or New Year. We think courtesies and presents are great in any day, no matter if it's a holiday or not. For example, last year we went to Warsaw, and the night before, when I already went to sleep, Parvis got into my suitcase, took my make-up box and wrote compliments over all make-up boxes, flacons and tubes. Some are still there!
Russian channel HTB News [21.04.2009]
HTB news: Not much has changed between the girls.
Julia: Of course we’ll still be in contact. We’re very close. We’re great friends, so I’ll help her and she’ll help me. Everything is okay.
Julia from t.A.T.u. will become a rock singer.
Julia: I like pop music a lot, but we’ll try something more pop-rock, I like that, it’ll be something like that, but a bit different.
The t.A.T.u. girl hasn’t made an official statement about her solo project, only now she talks about it.
Julia: We reached a new stage in life. We’ll both work on our solo projects. She will have hers, I will have mine.
Not much has changed between the girls.
Julia: Of course we’ll still be in contact. We’re very close. We’re great friends. So I’ll help her and she'll help me. Everything is okay.
There were already a lot of rumors about their solo projects and the fall of the scandalous duo.
Julia: Of course they’ll write that we split up. It won’t effect our group.
We continue working, only with a lighter regime. This half-time regime has already started.
Julia: We are in this position where we don’t have concerts everyday or record albums every six months. We will choose those concerts that will be interesting.
OK! Magazine [14th May 2009]
“Even now we kiss sometimes!”
On the last day of May the most successful and the most scandalous band of Russian show-business will be turning 10 years old. Expecting this event OK! magazine called t.A.T.u. girls in the US and found out, how Lena Katina almost lost her vision and why Yulia Volkova emigrates to the States.
On cold April afternoon of 1999 Ivan Shapovalov called Boris Renski, the head of computer company, for whom Ivan had been filming advertising videos for about two years, “Boris, I’ve got an idea. Maybe you’ll be interested”. They met the same day in Renski’s office. Ivan brought a CD. “Where can we listen to it?”he asked. “You won’t believe me but I have no CD player here”, Boris answered. There was a player in Shapovalov’s old BMW. The song “Yugoslavia” started to play. It was sung by 14-year old Lena Katina, a girl from “Neposedy” children band, who was chosen by Ivan in the casting. “Yeah, she sings cool”, Renski agreed, “So what do you want from me here?” “I’ve got an idea to have a TV-show in support of Yugolavia with the participation of Russian rock stars, and this girl will be a headliner,” Shapovalov explained his idea. “You give the money and I’ll put your company’s logo. We can put computers in a studio, if you wish”. Renski refused, “I’m not interested in such advertising”. And then he suddenly added, “There’s another suggestion: Forget about this show, let’s make a music project with this girl”. Next day Shapovalov brought Lena and her mom to meet Boris. 31 May 1999 first Lena’s photoshoot took place, with a trendy make-up artist of that time, Alexander Shevchuk. This date is considered an official t.A.T.u. birthday.
It’s hardly possible to imagine such project in today’s Russia. Just think about it, two girls, still underage, were kissing mouth to mouth at all major TV channels, showed up on stage in “Fuck War!” t-shirts and made all crazy producer’s ideas come true (today such a producer would’ve been probably jailed). t.A.T.u. were incredibly lucky: They appeared in a right time in a right place. So now, 10 years later, they can afford themselves not to think about money, to perform only when they wish to, not when the producer tells to (t.A.T.u. gigs are quite rare now), and spend in California almost twice as much time as in their native Moscow.
Do you know already how and when you’ll celebrate the anniversary?
Julia: There are actually not too many options: Either it’ll be some gig, or just a party where we’ll invite our friends and most active fans. It’ll be more clear later.
What moments from t.A.T.u. history do you recall most often now, after these 10 years?
Lena: I remember the very beginning. It was such careless time. We lived in each other’s places – sometimes Yulka stayed with me, sometimes I stayed with her. We walked in the city until 4 a.m. in the morning and then lied our parents that we were recording in the studio. For some reason I especially remember one night. We walked around Moscow downtown and then went with Yulka to my place. We opened the door very gently, not to awake my mom, we put off our clothes with no lights. And suddenly Volkova says, “I wanna eat”. I answer: “So what’s the problem? Go to the kitchen and eat.” Well I didn’t expect she would eat everything that was in the fridge, even my mom’s sandwiches with pate, that she prepared to take with her to work. Volkova ate 10 sandwiches! She’s so skinny and she’s so rapacious. Just crazy.
Julia: I also remember that time mostly. We just enjoyed every day, like children do. We went to parties all the time, we made new acquaintances, we were having fun. I remember we came back from some place in the morning, we sat down near Lenka’s house entrance and started to yell the folk song “Oi, to ne vecher” as loud as we could. We woke the whole street up!
And I recall the time, when your studio was in the Pekin Hotel in Moscow. It was a real narcotics den there! Some Shapovalov’s friends came all the time, they smoked and sniffed something…
Yulia: Well, show-business is an unhealthy environment in general, there are so few sober and adequate people there. Is it some kind of a revelation for you?
No, but how did you manage to escape this?
Julia: You just need to have priorities. As for me, I always wanted to look good, it is important for me. And looking at the very young people, who seemed to be about forty years old because of their way of living, I realized I didn’t want to become such as they later. Sure, it’s interesting to try everything in this life, but it’s important to know where to stop in time.
Did you try something?
As an experiment, not more.
Do you keep in touch with anybody from the people you’ve started with - Ivan Shapovalov, Alexander Voitinsky, Lena Kiper?
Julia: Unfortunately, no. Except perhaps Ivan. We’ve met not so long ago – last fall. He came to the Bacardi Party where Lenka and me performed. He came not by chance, I guess. He probably wanted to see today’s t.A.T.u. I noticed him from the stage, even though he stayed quite far away and said hi in a microphone. But we actually didn’t really have a chance to talk.
Lena: As for the others we haven’t seen each other for hundred years. Time changes, we also do…
So in brief, what has changed inside each of you?
Julia: The first thing I think of is I became a mom. It was a revolution of consciousness. I used to live just for myself before, I used to follow my emotions (I’m a very emotional person in general), but after the child’s birth I began to think about my every step. Oh, and I’m late less often now (Laughs). Though I still can’t get rid of this habit for good. Even if I’m late for an hour, I say I’ll arrive in 10 minutes.
I guess, you have no shows now, right?
We do have, but not often. So that everybody has a chance to start missing us.
Maybe just the time of t.A.T.u. passed?
I don’t think so. Our time isn’t over, our time has changed. No such noise and hysteria. But people still want to see and to hear us. And what do you do in the US all this time, if you don’t plan shows there?For example, I had an eye surgery in San-Francisco. I was fed up with squinting my eyes all the time. So now I’m in the rehabilitation period.
Julia, and what about you, what are you doing in US now?
Julia: I working on my solo album. I was meeting with various producers, I was choosing songs, I’m already trying to record things. However, I want to point: Despite Lenka and me decided to try solo projects, t.A.T.u. will exists further on, just in a “light mode”.
Is it already known, what style are your new songs are going to be? Lena: I’m still in search.
Julia: Me too. The only thing I know for sure: It won’t be a pop-music. I don’t really like all these “dances”, r’n’b. I can just listen to it, not to perform. It’s boring. I need a real drive on stage.
When Lena comes to the US, she usually stays in Boris Renski’ place. And what about you, Yulia, where do you usually live with Parvis?
Now I stay in Los Angeles with our friends. This time Parvis stayed in Moscow with our kids, by the way. And I wanted to stay in a hotel in the beginning, but finally I decided to call our friends and ask them to host me. I hate to stay alone, especially in hotels! I need companionship… And next time when I arrive here, I hopefully will stay in my own house. I’m looking for a place right now quite intensively. I plan to move finally to Los Angeles in the summer.
What do you mean “finally”?
I mean, forever. To live.
Are you serious?
Yes. First time I came to the US [for a long time] in 2005, and I liked it very much. Back then I already had an idea that it would be not bad to live there. And now this idea just got stronger.
So what can we find there that we don’t have in Russia?
Everything’s different here. It’s better to raise children here, because you have everything you need. It’s much safer here. It’s easier to be in music industry. All leading musicians and producers live in the US, and I’m really tired of flying back and forth. For another thing, here it’s summer all year round. And I can’t live without the sun. I’m very tired of Moscow greyness, of these endless parties. This empty “life burning”. So, it’s high time for me to change an atmosphere. Aren’t you afraid that many fans in Russia won’t understand you? No. I don’t really care what people in general think about me. Normal people, especially the ones who have kids, understand me. And not-normal ones can go home.
What’s your view on how an attitude towards “free love” definition changed in Russia during these 10 years?
Unfortunately, nothing has changed. Two years ago Lena and me came to the Gay Pride and observed how these poor boys were beaten from both sides: policemen from one side and skinheads from the other. I don’t understand how one can blame people only because they choose a different orientation. It’s just a savagery. I guess it doesn’t happen even in hindward African countries. To be honest, that episode has strongly affected me. Back then this strong desire of moving out of here grew deeper.
It’s great you can actually afford yourselves to choose a place to live. By the way, how much did you earn during 10 years of the career?
Julia: I don’t know as well. If I want to buy something, I just get money from the card, and when and in what amount they get there – I’ve no idea.
Julia already has children and a husband. Aren’t you going to marry?
In the nearest future – no. But on the other side, “If you want to set God laughing – just tell him about your plans”. It’s a banal saying, but it’s not cancelled.
OK! Magazine [12.03.2009]