fan meetings and Q&A's
Lena and Julia promise a lot during their fan meetings – read back and see how much came true.
Recording songs for the album “Mono”:
The sound was a little unusual for me and it was a little unusual to sing them. My voice is low…I said, “It feels as if I am not the one singing them”. I was listening to them, but it felt as if it was not me. I go used to it, I liked that it was something new and different. The song “Blihze” was very emotional. When I was talking about having trouble recording because of the feeling in my throat, I was talking about “Blizhe”. It is so personal to me regarding the situation and all.
Selecting people for Lena’s team:
Everything is with people I know. I continue to work with Olga Rudenko, she is my manager. Ivan joined our team recently…he is the PR manager. Alex is the sound director, we have Kristina who is my makeup artist, my stylist Dora, my concert director Artem, and my musicians…we try to have performances with a full band, and even with two guitar players, those who invite me to perform want just me on stage.
Shooting a video for “Blihze” and rejecting the idea of “veasers”:
A lot of people asked for a video. We also got an idea for a plot line which we liked, so we want to shoot a full video. Also, “veasers” are not shown on TV.
We have two songs in English already and will continue to record more. There are also performances planned in Europe, in Sweden, Norway, Madrid, a lot of festivals during next year, we have a schedule. So of course I want to record something else in English.
Songs dedicated to Julia:
The only song that was dedicated to Julia was “Never Forget” and the second song that I dedicated not to Julia, but to t.A.T.u. and that life was “Posle Nas”. The rest of the songs have nothing to do with Julia.
Outfits and costumes:
My outfits depend on my mood. For a certain performances I wanted leather pants. For the “Lift Me Up” video I sat with magazines and picked out my looks. The video was my idea. I spent hours looking for the clothes. I sat there and cut out exactly what I wanted from magazines, the pants, the shirt. I walked around stores with them and asked them to help me find the clothes. So the same thing goes for other looks. I called Olga and said, “I want a leather vest…I want leather pants and a leather vest”.
“Who I Am” music video:
This is the most embarrassing thing I have done in my entire life. Because I had one idea, but we had a small budget and my idea got trashed. They said that we are going to shoot something else and shot something that was not at all what I wanted…I wanted—I am not going to say, what if still want to do it. I told Olga about my idea and she said that maybe we will shoot it.
There is a new song that me and Olga are arguing about. I said it is horrible, but she said that it is cool. We accepted it, so we will see. I did not like the song “Startrek” at first. Then I recorded it and listened to it and liked it. It is also good to perform live. There are song which are great to record and listen to, but performing them is not fun…For example, “Here I Go Again” is a great song to listen to, but not to perform. “Wake Up Call” is fun to perform.
Not being played on the radio:
It is hard to separate yourself from a band. A lot of times I hear, “Well, everything has passed for her already”. Radio stations want to see a future. Some radio stations said that because of my age I do not belong on those stations. I think we have proven that we re moving forward and are not planning to stop. I think the new material, at a minimum, will not be worse than what we have already released.
I am planning duets. The song that Olga and I are arguing about is a duet. It has not been recorded yet. It is still being planned and created…the song “Nepravilnaya Lubov / Incorrect Love” is the Russian version of “Stay The Same”. We have not recorded it yet, but we have written the lyrics. We kind of forgot about it, to be honest. There were so many songs that had to be recorded and finished that we forgot about that one.
Unfinished songs and the fist album having around 20 unreleased songs:
We did not have time to finish them. I have a folder in DropBox that has more than 20 songs, probably around 40. Olga and I are planning to listen to them again and decide if we want to get something from there and refresh if to make, make it more modern. All of them are demos, there are no final versions.
Reconciling with Julia:
I love you guys a lot, but Julia and I had an irreconcilable conflict. I made a decision for myself. I think it is better for everyone. I am moving in my own direction and want to do solo work. I think I am doing a good job and one time I already tried to come back and start collaborative work. Nothing good happened between us. We just cannot work together. Unfortunately this is how it is. You should not wait.
Photos that Julia was cut out that Katya, Julia’s manager, saw at Lena’s home:
Of course. I have nothing better to do with my life than to print out photos of me and Julia and then cut out them up. Katya has never been to my home. I don’t know how to comment on this, but if Julia wants to believe it then please. Let’s not believe in words, but in actions.
Plans for a deluxe version of the Who I Am album:
Right now I don’t know at all because my entire American team – every one of them is doing their own thing. Sven just got married and had a honeymoon. Theoretically, yes, we planned it, but the deadlines have not been met so I do not know what we will do with it…if we will do anything.
There are a lot of songs which were not released that deserve to be released. I just can’t get around to it. I am not there, I cannot just go to the studio and finish production. I can write an email and receive an answer to it two days later, then answer that email…things get delayed. I am just doing this [solo project], but the guys are busy with a bunch of other things.
Recording with Ivan/“Novoya Lubov’”:
We record things, then Ivan says that it’s not right and that everything needs to be re-recorded. Or that we need to include someone else, but that person changes to someone else, then again to someone else, then something else changes. I think it gets old for him.
-So then maybe nothing will be released?
-Maybe. I don’t know…we haven’t decided on this question.
Regarding new material:
An EP is planned for release. We have to finish recording one song and maybe one more, which is in a process of being written. I think it will be a digital release because there is no point in physical CDs – there are not a lot of people who are interested in it, who are collectors. We have to think about this. Even if it’s a limited edition there has to be a certain amount of copies made, then those copies fill up my shelf…except for about 500 discs.
-How many of you are here?
-So add another 100, 150, and that’s all. The rest [of the discs] just sit there.
Regarding the veasers:
They will be released. They are being edited – one is ready and the second is being edited. I think it is an interesting topic. We sat down and thought about it – there is no point of creating a video for the full song which, first of all, people do not watch all the way, secondly, there is nowhere to play them, and thirdly, everyone is on Instagram and YouTube, so a minute to a minute and a half, according to psychological research, is all a person has. So we decided that instead of shooting one big video we will shoot two for two different songs.
Kosi and McDonald’s in English:
We are thinking about it. We are not sure how to translate it because there are specific, metaphoric words that it will not sound right in English. How do you transfer that emotion and what happens when you listen to it in Russian, the word play. Whenever we experiment with translating Russian to English or English to Russian I am never happy with the results. I am only happy with the Spanish results because I cannot understand anything.
“Posle Nas” in English:
English lyrics have been written, but we are not completely satisfied with it. It needs to be edited, so it is unsure now.
How do you feel about the translations from Russian to English or English to Russian in t.A.T.u.’s songs?
There was a team of people working on it. You cannot imagine how many different variations of lyrics we recorded for ‘All The Things She Said’ before we found the one which was released. For instance, the song ‘Clowns’ – I do not think it transfers the same meaning in English…when Boris Renksi and I worked together we tried to translate from English to Russian and I was extremely unhappy with the translations. We wasted a huge amount of time and money on this. Songs like ‘Beast’ and ‘IRS’ – the [Russian] lyrics are horrible.
“Stay The Same” will be in Russian and the lyrics had started being written since I sang it [in Mummy Troll bar]. (Lena said she was extremely sick during this performance and that there were a bunch of other background issues with the performance.)
About t.A.T.u.’s song “Divine”:
The song was recorded a thousand years ago. I think it was Interscope’s song, they gave it to us. When you work with people, with a record label, there are rules. Some songs are born from a process of creativity and some from a process of negotiation.
About performing in Mexico:
We are trying to organize a concert in Mexico for February. I do not know what will come off it at this point, or if anything will come off it at all, but we are trying. Sven is working on it now.
“Wake Up Call” should be released very soon – the album artwork is complete.
Lena always checks Instagram and Twitter, but does not check Facebook or her official VK page.
*Note: Lena was not feeling well during the meeting due to being sick.
When will you show your son?
Never. Let him live a peaceful life.
Tell us about the DVD.
We decided to release it a while ago, it’s just taking a long time. There is just always something going on…it will be released through the Italian label…It has finally been edited and now it will be getting released. They are bringing it to me in Germany for signing.
Tell us something about the new single.
I won’t say anything. We’ll release it at some point. October it should be released. Everything has been ready for a while, we are just waiting for documents.
Are you planning a duet?
I don’t now.
What about a lullaby?
I’ve annoyed everyone with the lullaby. They said when I go to record a song then I will record the lullaby.
Do you have only two songs recorded or is there something else? Have you found something?
I have found something, but only a demo has been recorded.
Are there a lot of demos?
You have a few concerts in the far east.
Have you been there already?
What about Moscow?
We’re getting ready for Moscow in Spring. I just had a concert in St. Petersburg.
So, everything will be soon?
As always. I am sick of waiting myself. You think I am sitting there all happy? There are just moments that are impossible to control.
There is a song which I think a lot of people love, but you have never performed live – All My Love. Would you perform it at your concert?
No, I wouldn’t be able to sing that song.
Where is your award for selling 4 million copies of 200km/hr In The Wrong Lane?
Up there at my mom’s.
Do you talk to Ivan?
I just spoke to him a few hours ago.
So, what happened with “Novoya Lubov’”?
Have you looked at the songs that have been sent to you?
Yes, some of them. Olga (Lena’s manager) listens to them and sends them to me. We need to start collaborating with a person…it’s a secret. We’ll see, I think it should turn out well.
What do you want the style of the album to be?
I want to record a Russian album. I will be working on an English version at the same time with other people, but right now I want to work on Russian material because I have not had any in a while. I do not like the translations that have been made, they don’t sound right. When you translate English into Russian you have to preserve the idea and what sounds good in English does not sound good in Russian…The songs with T-killah were written separately. My songs were translated to Russian and I am not satisfied with 90% of the translations, so I do not even want to sing them in Russian. In English it sounds organic, in Russian it sounds like a translation.
What music do you like?
I don’t listen to music at all.
If t.A.T.u. was born today, who would you pick instead of Julia? Who else would you like to work with?
Nobody, because t.A.T.u. could only exist as it did and at the time that it did. Nobody knows how it would have been in this day. Everything was done ideally with the right people, the right ideas.
Your performance of “Devochki Lunatiki” with Anna Pletnyova – she came out looking like a girl who we will not call by name….what were you trying to say with this performance?
Anna just offered me to sing the song with her at her concert…
Maybe you could do a duet with her?
I think I need to work on solo material. It doesn’t mean there can’t be duets, but all my strength is going to my own material now.
What about the song “Novoya Lubov’ “, is there any news about it?
We have not received permission to release it. It’s a very beautiful song, but I do not want to risk releasing something that we did not get permission to release. It is a cover, after all…I do not want to do anything illegally.
- There will be a deluxe version of Lena’s first album, which will include bonus songs, including Russian versions. “It is hard to translate from English to Russian and I have some doubts about the lyrics, but the songs are recorded and I will release them.”
- There will be 5 songs in Russian, including the one she recorded with Ivan, which Lena is not sure will be on the album since they have not received the rights to it yet – they are waiting to hear back from Sade’s record company since the song is a cover.
- Lena and Julia are not communicating and Lena is not waiting for Julia to wish her a happy birthday, ”Let’s not talk about this topic, it’s my birthday”.
- Lena will perform with a female Italian artist at her show on November 14th. There will also be a video for the song. It’s an experimental duet which will be in English, but with an Italian flair.
- When asked if Lena would ever perform “Vsya Moya Lubov” and “Belochka”, she said there is new material to perform. Even though “Belochka” was only song by Lena it is still considered a t.A.T.u. song and she would rather perform her own songs.
- Lena worked with a graphic designer to decide on the album artwork. She likes the cover, which includes parts of various photos from several shoots, including “Ya Soshla S Uma” and others. The cover represents the name of the album, “This is all me, beginning from the 2000’s and up until now”.
- Promotion for the album is currently happening in Italy and England, “It is hard to do a self-release without the help of a record label”.
- Ivan did not like the song “Who I Am”.
- Lena sometimes gets offers for acting roles, but does not feel confident to act. She doesn’t want people saying that she should just stick to singing if her acting does not come out well.
Not performing “Davai Zakrutim Zeml’yu”:
“It is a good song for club performances. When you are on other types of stages it is hard to put all this together and connect it into a set. I have a lot of songs recorded, but it’s hard to put them all together.”
“I am not ready to release them for some reason. I have recorded a lot during this time. I don’t want to release them. I want something new.”
“Everything with my voice is just as it was. I will have one more operation for my voice in Korea. It’s going to be light just to clean it up. I have learned to live with it.”
Recent meeting with Martin Kierszenbaum:
“It was both a friendly get-together and a work related one. We talked about the possibility of doing something new. We talked about creative work with Lena and creative solo work. Right now it is just discussions and ideas. He also said there are a lot of requests regarding t.A.T.u. and I told him the problem is not with me.”
Performing t.A.T.u. songs:
Julia said it is impossible not to perform those songs, people ask for them. She wants to re-record t.A.T.u. songs with new arrangements.
Private event requests for t.A.T.u. to perform:
“Yes, there are a lot of them, but Lena rejects them.”
Neposedy 25th Anniversary concert where Julia and Lena did not interact not stage:
“The performance was strange. She did not even say hello. She was in a different dressing room and honestly I did not have time for her. There was Vlad Topalov, Sergey Lazarev, and Elena Pindzhoyan who I wanted to talk to, but she did not say hi to me, as if I was not even there.”
There are no t.A.T.u. songs/demos that were recorded but not released that fans do not know about. “Even what was recorded during Podnebesnaya has already appeared online…we never had an English version of Robot. The German version of ‘Not Gonna Get Us’ was never recorded and whatever we had with Rammstein was not recorded either.”
When t.A.T.u. were recording their English album in England they went to Trevor Horne’s house where they played tennis and rode horses.
Julia stated several times during the meeting that she has no issues reuniting t.A.T.u. “I want to, the question is with the second member. I am in a positive frame of mind. We were never enemies and never will be. The fact that we got into a fight and had a conflict, well we’ve had conflicts when we worked together – there were arguments and misunderstandings. This wasn’t a categorical conflict, I am ready to communicate. There are many requests from different countries, many people reach out. We tried to connect with Lena’s director and through her PR people, but she is not interested in talking about this topic. It’s too bad because the problem is not about us, but about people who love and know us and want to see us together. I see no reasons to say ‘No’. I think for the 20th anniversary of t.A.T.u. we could have had something awesome, had a concert. I have many ideas and there are many people in Moscow, directors and Channel 1, who are ready to do it. I don’t know how to speak to Lena and come to an agreement. My director tried to speak with her director, but Lena refuses to talk about this topic. If you want to somehow influence Lena you can do so. I tried, but it did not work out for me. I don’t want to knock on an empty door, I do not want to force her. I have a wish to do it. It is interesting for me because it is such a huge past and there are so many people who are waiting for us, so why not do it? It is absurd to avoid it and to refuse it. Why do people have to suffer and keep asking questions?”
“My manager, Katya, was at Lena’s house a few years ago…either to discuss the Olympics or a performance in Moscow. She came back with such shock. She said she did not even know how to tell me. She said, ‘There are photos in her house which you were cut out of.’ I did not see it myself, I promise, but she said, ‘For instance, the photo of Eminem, you, and her – you were cut out of it. David Junk, from Interscope, you were cut out it and its just her and him. Photos with Ivan too.’ .”
Julia has not heard Lena’s new album.
Julia said it would be interesting to sit and talk with Lena. She recently spoke with Boris and Ivan, so she would like to connect with Lena too.
Julia does not want to do any music collaborations right now.
Julia wants to release a single before the new year and to shoot a video. She also wants to release an EP that is 5-6 songs, maybe t.A.T.u. ones recorded in a new style.
When asked about Julia’s website that no longer works she said it is not needed because everything is now on social media.
Julia changed her tattoos that had to do with another religion. “I did not want to connect them, I just wanted to change them.” She has a new wolf tattoo on her back as well as roses.
Julia admitted that she had an English-speaking boyfriend from America. When asked if it was true that she had a fling with Sean Paul, Julia said, “I do not remember”.
When are you going to release “Sledui Za Mnoy” (“Follow Me”)?
Currently never because I don’t like it anymore. I don’t want to right now. It’s just sitting there – I record things and they just sit there. I re-do them, I change them…I don’t want to release just anything. I’ve had experiments in my life where I have tried to release something and it was kind of…I don’t want to. You’ll hear everything.
What about “Stand Up”?
“Stand Up”? We’ll see. It’s also unreleased, as you see. We’ll see, everything is sitting there…everything will be available for purchase!
Have you left “Sex-Rock” in the past?
Why? The sex has remained, the rock as well. “Sex-Rock” is a lifestyle within you. It does not mean sex in a literal way, it means the fire in your eyes. And rock is a way of life – when you are not afraid to say what you want, state your opinion, when you move forward with assertiveness.
Who is writing your songs?
I have many different authors…from Ukraine, from Moscow. They are not famous, they are just starting out. But, they are very creative and talented just like Sergey Galoyan when no one knew him. I prefer to work with younger authors and composers because they are more inspired…I like their energy and their promise.
Have you been invited to participate in TV shows?
Yes, but I declined a lot, like “Toch’-V-Toch’ “, due to my voice. They’ve asked, saying that songs could be removed, that I could sing songs without high notes, but I did not risk it. Also, ice skating, but I don’t want to fall. I have had enough pain and surgeries. I already did “Dancing With The Stars” and it’s just not my thing. I am thinking of “Swimming With Dolphins”. They are having a new season for the summer and I love animals, so I’m thinking about it.
Many fans have noticed you are wearing a cross. Does this mean anything?
It means that I have returned to my religion. I have a desire to go to church. I did not attend for many years…At one time I did not need it, but now I attend church and I like it. And maybe a person who was close to me had convinced me that I needed to find my own thing. I have never been against church, religion, Christianity. My parents celebrated Easter and dyed eggs and I was around the table with my family during that. I just never had a desire for it…I like it so I decided to come back to it all. I am happy and feel more harmonious. I feel like I have become calmer and do not pay attention to all the small, ugly things in life. Maybe it’s age – you grow up and realize certain things.
Are you planning something with Elena Kiper?
Not right now. I know that she has a lot of projects and has a lot going on.
People want to know how you view people that are not of the standard sexual orientation since there was a scandal.
Absolutely fine. It’s just that when people ask me provocative questions that are about my children I think it is a topic that should not be touched. We can do whatever we want in our life, but we wish our children to grow up how our families and grandparents did. I will not judge anyone because everyone has their own path. Everyone has a choice in their life and their love…you cannot judge someone for their love. Don’t judge and you won’t be judged.
Do you talk to Ivan Shapovalov?
Yes, of course. He just called me yesterday to wish me a happy birthday. We chatted and agreed to meet up in the next few days.
Tell us about your album and single.
There is nothing to tell now. I am recording songs in very different styles – slow, fast, rock, dance. I am looking for my type of style. I like everything so I cannot come to a conclusion about what I want specifically. Right now it is a period of growth. I kind of want something like what was in the past, but also something calm, new, and different. Now I am recording, or collecting, you could say, songs and material. I do not want to say or promise anything about the album. It’s in the works, work is being done. I am not hurrying like everyone else who release singles every 2 to 3 months. I don’t want that strategy. Many years have passed and I have not had a solo creation, so I am going towards something that can be released as a whole and then release singles after.
In what language?
In Russian, but some songs could be in English.
How is your voice?
It’s fine. I am not doing anything, but I probably need one last [surgery]. But, if I do it there will be another 6-month silence for recovery.
People are writing that one single a year is too little and that they want more.
I agree. That is why I have stopped doing it. We did “Dherzhi Ryadom”, then we wanted to do “Spasite Lyudi Mir”, and I think it’s all pointless. I am in favor of an album. You need to wait a little.
Are you doing something else in the meantime, like your book?
I have stopped everything with my book. I was writing it, then stopped doing it.
People are asking if you would release an EP instead of an album.
Maybe…We thought about this as well, not doing 12 or 13 tracks, but instead do 5 or 6 songs…maybe.
When will we get the song “Vanera I Mars” (“Venus And Mars”)?
It already exists. What do you mean when will you get it? A video? There isn’t going to be a video for it. But the song exists, I perform it. It will be part of the album. They made it cool. It was different in the beginning, then it was changed and sounded good.
Do you have any preference in music?
I like everything, but lately I have been liking deep house…something without words, just music. I am tired of the pop, trendy, dance music. Of course I watch the award shows. Adele, Beyonce, it’s interesting for me.
Are you planning to be in a movie?
It depends on which one. If it’s a television series, then I don’t want to. But if it’s a movie, then it can be done. It’s hard – it’s a separate profession.
Where did you go on vacation and why there?
I won’t say where I went. I don’t want to advertise the hotels or anything. I relaxed and everything is fine.
Do you smoke?
No. I stopped before Samir and did not smoke again.
Are there going to be concerts in the near future?
There will be some in March. We do not publish anything on my website anymore.
Are you going to have more kids?
Yes, of course. I am not in a hurry because that’s a responsible move. You want to be around them and raise them when they are growing up.
You said you tried to find directors for “Spasite Ludi Mir”. Why not find ones that are just starting out?
Because they probably won’t do what I want. These are global topics and should be done by professionals. There is a lot of new talent that is creative. I thought about when I am going to release my first single that maybe I should work with new, trendy guys. For this video I wanted more of a movie because it is a story of life. We tried to work with more established people, but it did not work out. It’s nothing to worry about. I think this song will have its moment. Just like “Nas Ne Dagoniat” was the anthem for the Olympics. “Spasite Lyudi Mir” can be applied to different topics which, unfortunately, are occurring in the world.