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7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope


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28 February - 6 March 2014

Ukraine History

A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels

With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidans three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countrys stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.

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Ukraine Today
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.

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Ukrainian Culture

When Walls Can Talk

People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.

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Kyiv Celebrities

Spicy, Seductive, Super Stereolizza

In 2008, Ukrainian group Stereolizza crossed the pond to the States, since then becoming a top international act. Headed here for the holidays, we catch up with the frontster, sexy, near-eponymous Lizza, for the lowdown.
Lizza was born Kateryna Shalayeva in Russia and moved to Ukraine in her teens. Her parents had wanted her to be a diplomat. However, this was not what the young Katya wanted, as the aspirant rock chick started getting further into the music scene. Going under the moniker Lizza, she and collaborator Alex Ginchev (multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer) founded Stereolizza in 2004, adding fellow musician Ingvo to the mix in 2005.

Hits such as XYZ, When Youre Here, Carousel and more have seen Stereolizza hit the big time since then. However, Lizza assures us that she always has some Whats On time in her schedule. 

How would you introduce Stereolizza to someone who has yet to hear of you?
I could say tonnes of stuff but it wont mean a thing unless my music gets them on the hook. So, I would probably start off by playing one of our songs. If they like it, I can then tell them we opened for the Black Eyed Peas at Kyivs Palace of Sports, that our songs have been in Hollywood movies, TV shows and MTV stuff like that. If its a guy Im talking to, and hes cute, I might even show him my Playboy cover!

Who were some of your influences growing up?
I wasnt that girly growing up I used to sing in various high school bands, where I was often the only girl, allowing the musical tastes of my bandmates a big influence. I often listened to Viktor Tsoi, Nirvana, Jimmy Hendrix, The Verve, Blur, Radiohead and other such legends. I also had a lot of old jazz records. Later, I became a fan of Madonnas Confessions on the Dance Floor and Eminems Slim Shady. Although, Ive never been a follower of one style or artist, Ive always been attracted to particular songs or albums, rather than music trends or artists.

How is the band getting on in LA?
In Los Angeles, our success is comparatively modest. LA is the city of Justin Bieber, Katy Perry and thousands of other superstars after all. But, if we were to be compared with a mid-level American artist, then Id say were doing pretty well. We are also represented in three European countries Ukraine, Sweden and Poland, and for an average American band this is not easy to achieve. Also, we just signed a contract with quite a big American company, pigFACTORY, who will represent our songs worldwide, pitch them into movies, commercials, TV shows; so things are just great right now, with every indication of better to come!

Tell us more about the collaboration with the Swedish label...
The Swedish label is called Clubstream Pink, and they specialise in radio-friendly house music. They heard our music, liked it and offered us a deal. Naturally, we were very flattered because Swedish producers are currently topping American pop charts and its not easy to get them interested. They have already released an EP with Carousel, and remixes from Swedish and American DJs. The remixes sound really awesome we totally dig what these guys did with our song! Also, Clubstream together with Sony Music put on a remix contest, where DJs from all over the world competed in creating the best remix to Carousel. The contest closed with 51 entries, which was fabulous. Choosing the winners was a tough call!

Tell us a little about Magic Records. You signed with them in December 2012 how did that come about and is it a conflict of interest with Clubstream Pink?
Magic Records is a company we worked with through Ukrainian Records back in the day, and our cooperation was very successful. They wanted to sign us when they heard our new song Go Back To Your Mama and saw the music video, even after all these years. We were already recording the album ourselves and planning to release it on our own record label StereoZzilla Music, but, Magics offer was so enticing and their desire to work with us so strong that we signed a deal with them for three albums. There is no conflict of interest with Clubstream Pink the Swedish label licensed just the one song from us, Carousel, and released an EP with remixes. 

What is it about living in the US that you really like and maybe dont like so much?
First of all, I would say living in Los Angeles, not the US every region in the United States is very different, and LA, as a city especially, differs from everything else. 
The likes:
A totally creative atmosphere people from all around the country and the world come here with ideas. Everyone has aspirations and work very hard to turn their dreams into reality. 
I love American customer service! 
There are a lot of things that go on in LA every single day concerts, shows, exhibitions, premiers, parties, conferences, etc. There is so much to do and to see!
I love the weather! It is sunny and warm all year round, with endless beaches and a beautiful ocean.
There is high competition within the music  market.
The dislikes:
Healthcare can make you a broke. Dont ever get injured or sick in the United States!
Property tax.
Credit history.
Lots of scams.  

What things do you miss about Ukraine?
We miss our families and friends. Also, people in LA dont talk to each other very much they spend a lot of time driving long distances, nobody calls each other, they are just constantly texting, even close friends. This is very strange for me; I think the loss of live communication is a huge deficit in such a mega-city such as LA. 

How did growing up in a newly independent Eastern Europe have an effect on you? What of those experiences have served you best in your career?
All the people in Eastern Europe, including myself, started travelling more we became more open to the worlds modern culture. 

Speaking of culture, what is your favourite book and why?
Three Comrades by Erich Maria Remarque. I read it in a heartbeat and cried my eyes out. Then theres The Heart of a Dog by Bulgakov, because it remains true for all times.

What is on your bedside table right now? 
I dont have a bedside table!

Is there a special guy in your life at the moment..?
Yes, and this special guy has been by my side as far as I can clearly remember myself, in different capacities as a friend, bandmate, co-writer and producer. In addition, he is now my spouse (smiles)

How did you celebrate the Christmas/New Year holiday this year?
I came to Kyiv to spend the holidays with my family. My cousins also came from Russia, so it was a lot of fun to celebrate all together because it doesnt happen very often.

What would you like to see happen both personally and professionally in 2013?
I want to deliver as many great songs as possible; the rest will come sooner or later. It would be great to play a number of live shows in different countries in 2013 and release an album. Personally, I want my family to continue being happy and healthy, as well as get together more.

If you could redo any part of your life, would you change anything?
I dont want to change anything! No! I dont have any regrets! 

What message do you have for your Ukrainian fans?
I would like to wish all of them, regardless of whether they like my music or dont give a damn about who I am, love and peace. There is so much anger and greed around us, but life is so beautiful and short. Hurry to live every single second and love someone; dont put it off til tomorrow!

Stereolizzas new track Go Back To Your Mama is out now. 
Keep up to date with the band on www.stereolizza.com

Graham Phillips and Lana Nicole 

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Comments (3)
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Umit | 05.04.2014 23:47

I grew up knowing Cubans, East Germans and Romanians that had epcesad their socialist paradises (I will blame my bourgeois parents for that, how dare they hang out with rejects of the workers\' paradise). I moved to England in the 90s, where the University\'s student UNI0N body seemed to think Marxism was great and long live socialism... and down with the system, woooohooooo!I met too many brownshirt vegans and too many girls desperate to have a minority boyfriend to prove how non-racist they were (as opposed to going out with the right person for them, regardless of background). Amnesty International was very popular, so was the Anti-Nazi League (i.e. the Youth Communist Party).I graduated in 98 and started working, which led to much travel across a formerly great country (including staying at a Holiday Inn in Manchester with a perimeter barbed wire fence and german-shepherd patrols walking the perimeter). This is what made me start planning my escape from the cesspit formerly known as England in 02, succeeded in 04. I hate to say this, but hard Socialism conquered England where the nazis failed.Now that I am in North America, my neighbours are from Czechoslovakia, my best friends are Hungarian and I know a fair few Serbians and Croatians. Not one of them has anything good to say about Socialism, and they are all shocked that parties in Canada such as the NDP get so many votes.But what do eastern europeans know about the workers\' paradise, eh?


 
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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didnt Know We Had

    Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they dont understand the meaning of these words.


    Kyiv Culture

    Pulling Strings
    Located on Hrushevskoho Street the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades childrens favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. Whats On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.

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