We must try to distinguish good performers from bad ones. Interview with Selfieman
Selfieman is a new project of multi-instrumentalist Nikolai Stravinsky, a member of such groups as Cockroaches !, Missiles from Russia and Fairy Dragee.
Selfieman’s debut album, consisting of 8 tracks, was recorded in February-August 2014 at studios in Dusseldorf and Moscow, and was called “Transparent Things”. The uniqueness of the album lies in the fact that Nikolai is not only the author of the music of all the material, but also the performer of all musical and vocal parts.
The presentation of the disc took place in Moscow and St. Petersburg in November 2014 with the participation of Evgeny Ryakhovsky and Sergey Kivin from the Animal DzhaZ group, as well as Alexey Lovyagin from the Sakura group. Passing with full houses in both capitals, the debut concerts of the project caused extremely positive impressions from the audience and music critics.
On February 14th, Selfieman will give a festive concert on Valentine’s Day at The Place club in St. Petersburg. On the eve of this performance, BritishWave.ru talked with Nikolai, asking him about his project Selfieman, inspiration and the formation of a good musical taste.
Tell us, how did you come up with the idea of a solo project?
Initially, I wrote songs and did not know what came of it and why. Due to the fact that the songs were completely different, I could not find a single concept for them, in fact, because of this, it was not clear what to do with them. Then I had some kind of general idea for my work, more songs appeared and then everything went by itself.
And why did you choose such a name for the project?
I liked the article I came across. It talked about an American teenager who was obsessed with the idea of photographing himself, that is, he took selfies daily. He always did not like the way others photograph him and he began to photograph himself. As a result, his own photographs ceased to suit him, they somehow rescued him from suicide, took him to a hospital, where doctors said that he was suffering from a new type of psychological illness – self-mania.
When you perform, you use the help of your colleagues from the groups Animal Jazz and Sakura. Tell us about your cooperation, how do you work together?
Oh, great! In fact, in the team the main catch is when the creative process is going on. I think this is the most controversial moment. And when the songs are already written and handed out to the party, it remains only to learn and play. Therefore, everything usually goes well. And besides, I have been familiar with these guys for a long time, I know them well, that’s why it works great for us. I would not even call it work, because the main workflow occurs when the material is written.
Tell us about your first album. What were you inspired by when you created it.
Of course, not without the influence of Biffy Clyro, but I still wanted to go a little different music. They have it, in my opinion, heavy, so in the end I tried to get rid of overloaded guitars. Well, of course, there is a lot from the music that I used to play.
Why are the texts in English?
The texts were written by my childhood friend, based on my sketches of some kind. We tried to do it in Russian, recorded even one track. But I realized that I absolutely don’t like the way it all sounds. Initially, the song was generally in some kind of pseudo-English language, that is, it is generally not clear what the words were there, it’s just that the main thing is that the melody is. And I liked this option more than the Russian-speaking one. Then I realized that I need to return to English and finalize the texts.
What are you listening to now? Just walking down the street or at home, doing your own thing?
I always listen to the band Metallica. Lately I’ve been listening to Bastille and Biffy Clyro a lot, naturally. Queen, The Beatles, of course. I still really love symphonic music, Tchaikovsky, for example. In general, I really like our music, it’s classical music, the whole “Balakirev Circle” is all so wonderful that, of course, it could not pass me by.
You used to play a lot of covers. Are there any other songs you would like to play?
This was not some kind of independent project, just recorded one cover, after some time another. So I would not say that I am done doing this. I have plans already have a specific track that I want to do and I hope that I will do it in the near future, but it has nothing to do with Selfieman, it’s just for the soul. But what kind of track – until I say, such a little secret.
Tell us a little about the clip for the song “True”. Who wrote the script for him? And in general, how do you shoot clips. Does it matter to you how much it will reflect the meaning of the song?
I try to do what I do well, that is, in this case, this is writing music. Therefore, to take on a script or something else – I do not like to do it, because nothing good will come of it. The script, the idea, its embodiment – all this was invented by the Swedish director (Drazen Kuljanin). The whole clip is his idea, he sent me a script – where and how it should be shot – and I really liked it.