All the Things She Said pushed buttons musically and visually. The song alone was hailed as one of the greatest songs of the 00’s, along with its composition. But it was the accompanying music video in which t.A.T.u. bandmates Lena Katina and Yulia Volkova kiss passionately from the end of the second chorus and right through the third that propelled the pair to international superstardom and controversy. Perhaps it was a case of peaking too soon, nothing matched the success of that track and the accompanying album 200km/h in the Wrong Lane. It was in fact the duo’s second of six studio albums; three English and three Russian. Now, the most successful Russian act to date is back after a two-year break, but do they still have it in them to shake-up the music world?
You seem to have been a part of the music scene for a long time, yet you’re both only 28. Take us back a decade to talk about that kiss and the lesbian image – you must have received a lot of criticism? How did you cope with it?
Volkova: Actually I think everyone has the right to have their own point of view. And after all, it’s boring to hear only positive comments.
Katina: My most severe critic is myself. With regard to criticism that comes from others – if it’s adequate criticism I try to listen to it, if not... than I turn the other cheek.
Of course the lesbianism was all for show, but it worked. What brings you the most satisfaction from being so popular?
Katina: I’m always inspired by positive feedback about our work.
Volkova: Every day brings new inspiration. There’s no monotony in our work. And when your creative work inspires others to do good – it brings joy to you too.
Does your reUNI0N mean t.A.T.u. is back for good? Is there a new album in the works?
Volkova: At this point it’s too early to talk about a full reUNI0N. We’ve scheduled just a couple of concerts. We’ll see how it turns out.
Katina: My solo project is a priority for me now and soon I’m launching a new single and video Lift Me Up. I dedicate this song to all my fans who have been with me through the tough moments of my life. In addition to this, I’m releasing my solo album shortly, recorded in English and Spanish.
Perhaps t.A.T.u. is one of the few Russian acts that is truly international. Where do you like to play most? Where are your most dedicated fans?
Katina: I’m living in Los Angeles now and I’m pretty happy with my life... Still I miss Moscow. We have fans in every country who love us. For them I want to perform, share my passions – it doesn’t really matter where that happens.
Volkova: There were times when we were on endless tours around the world, at the peak of our popularity, when we had to sing the same songs over and over again, a couple of times a day, even forgetting the words – every concert, country and people were so different. We were well received wherever we went. It’s impossible to compare. Although we travelled a lot, I love Moscow – this city is home, the place where my kids (Yulia is mother to two children Victoria and Samir), friends and relatives are.
Speaking of fans, do you get gifts from them? Is there anything that stands out?
Volkova: Every year, on my birthday, fans gather near my parent’s house to give me flowers, presents and their congratulations. We spend some time talking and I really appreciate this as they do it sincerely.
Katina: We know a lot of our fans and appreciate every gift they give us as they do it sincerely as Yulia just said. Recently, one fan gave me a gift card to a bookstore as a wedding present (Lena got married to rock musician Sasho Kuzmanovich) this August. That was so sweet!
I’m sure you’ve had thousands of similar interviews. What’s the most unpleasant topic journalists like to discuss with you?
Katina: Well, surely it’s money. We are usually asked how much we’ve earned or are getting for shows. I hate putting my financial position out there for the public.
Volkova: I agree. Also, when we are asked about our love lives or alleged affairs. I hate when people stick their noses into your private life.
t.A.T.u. (RU, pop)
Stereo Plaza (Chervonozoryaniy 1)
27 September at 20.00
Tickets: 250 –1,500hrv
by Vadym Mishkoriz