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Interview With Boris Resnkiy

1. After the completion of t.A.T.u., why did you decide to take Lena Katina under your wing? What motivated you? Tell us about that period between t.A.T.u. and Lena Katina. (Alena Ermakova, Anastasia Komarova)

There was no between period. Lena’s project began the day t.A.T.u. was finished. I will tell you how t.A.T.u. ended.

In the last year and a half of t.A.T.u. I was very tired of disruptions and overlapping, which occurred due to Yulia’s mood swings. I, of course, understand that stars are fickle and extravagant, but there is such an understanding as professionalism, and generally, everyone has their limits. 

You probably remember the story with the cancellation of the concert in Sunnyvale, California in summer 2008. We were getting ready for this concert for half a year and it was completely sold out. Yulia simply refused to fly from Moscow to L.A., saying that she now had a fear of planes. I don’t want to go into a description of the real reasons for Yulia’s behavior, but for all of us internally, believe me, they were obvious and did not look in any way excusable. The concert was cancelled, we paid a huge fine, were ashamed and got onto the blacklist of people with which not to do business. And Yulia, after several days, flew to take a vacation. Her fear of flying disappeared without a trace. This was by far not the first time this happened with Yulia. After this I said (quote), “Yulia, if you do something similar to this one more tie, I am going to resign from t.A.T.u.”.  The next similar story happened a half a year later with one of the corporate Christmas shows. I won’t describe the details, they are small and unsightly.

One day in the beginning of 2009 I asked Lena and Yulia to come to the office. I officially announced to the girls, that my activity in t.A.T.u. was over, that I no longer wish to have any professional ties with Yulia. I offered Lena to work with me on her solo project and she agreed. Everything was done eye to eye without any plots or separate negotiations. This is how t.A.T.u. closed and Lena Katina’s project opened. 

I hope, dear fans, you understand, that I could not, in that moment, reflect the circumstances that I described above in the official release of why t.A.T.u. ended. But now the statute of limitations, as they say, has expired, and I think you are entitled to know how things really were. Especially since I do not want to leave without commenting on the widespread version of, “Yulia’s departure was due to the hopelessly corrupt, incompetent leadership under Boris Rensky’s t.A.T.u.”, casting a shadow on Lena and I. My leadership may have been incompetent, and t.A.T.u. may have rotted because of this, but the true cause of trouble lies somewhere else. 

2. Do you have your own business now? What does it have to do with? Are you now the investor of Lena Katina’s project? Are there any other investors besides you? Are there other music projects in which you are the manager? (Sergey Beltyukov)

I am connected to two projects from the IT field, which were founded in the end of my participation at the end of the 90’s. But I would not call this my business. I do not take part in their daily management, my son Boris Jr is in charge there. 

Am I the investor of Lena Katina’s project? To answer in one word, yes. To go into greater detail, you should keep in mind that an investor is a person which put money into some new project or bought shares on the market and is now waiting for when the project shoots up or the shares grow. After the money that has been put in has been returned with a profit (or without a profit, or have not been returned at all), the investment cycle is completed. 

Lena’s project, particularly in the beginning during 2009-2010, took up almost all of my time and now I am involved on a daily basis, so to call me an investor is false, even though I spent and continue to spend money on the project. My role is more of an “Executive Producer” and my input is in the determining the genre, style, image, involvement in making the music, lyrics, arrangements, and videos. Another investor is Lena herelf, who also puts in her own money (I am not going to talk about other aspects of Lena’s participation because they are obvious). Basically, the Lena Katina project is a “join stock company” with 3 owners who spend their own time and resources working on the future success not only for the sake of money (although money is important), but for the incarnation of a dream. This is Lena, me, and Sven Martin, who you all know. I am not involved with any other artists/musicians.

3. Ex-soloists of t.A.T.u. Lena Katina and Yulia Volkova started their own solo careers after the end of the band. Both released their first single: Never Forget (Lena Katina) and All Because of You (Yulia Volkova). Does Lena and her team feel any rivalry towards Yulia Volkova? (Andrey Nazarov)

In the beginning this feeling was strong, it would have been foolish to deny it. But time goes by, we part further and further from each other, and the feeling of rivalry is dulled.

4. Boris, tell us, is it possible to reunite t.A.T.u. at least to have a joint single with Yulia and Lena? (Bogan Kostyuk, Irina Kolupaeva)

In the near future I do not think it is possible. Lena must build her brand and move away from the status of “ex-t.A.T.u. girl”, and working on projects together with Yulia would be moving in the wrong direction. Maybe later, much later, why not. 

5.  What are the biggest challenges which you come across in starting the Lena Katina project in the West and promoting it on an international level? What inspires you? (Alexander Heaven)

The largest, and perhaps the only difficulty, is breaking through all the competition. And this is true. We work hard and move forward towards success. In any case, no one from our team is ashamed of the quality of products, it is up to international standards. 

The type of luck that happened to t.A.T.u. happens rarely. Shapovalov and I wanted to make a stylish and high quality music project, which we were able to do. But, not Ivan, not the girls, not I in our wildest dreams would’ve reached international fame. Thanks to the talented ideas of Ivan, t.A.T.u. appeared in front of you just the way you remember them. No one on Earth is able and will not be able to mathematically calculate how exactly in this time such a presentation touched the strings of the souls of little girls and boys across the whole world. A year earlier or a year later, a little bit of a different tone or some other small detail, and we could have missed…It is just like winning 100 million, buying a lottery ticket at a newspaper kiosk, except is it even more difficult because the ticket must be produced itself, then that particular ticket must be bought, and no one knows the exact moment. 

6. Why has it been so difficult for you to find a record label? Did you try with the global ones? Will Lena release a second album, or this will be your first and last production? From what I heard, you have a lot of songs, what do you think about to release an LP instead of an album? (Brian Alcaino) 

Did we try to make a deal with a global label? Yes, surely. Lena’s merit for the humankind is definitely acknowledged. Otherwise we wouldn’t have been allowed past the concierge. But even Lena is not anticipated with open arms anywhere, all the more so, as the record business does not bring the profits it used to 10, let alone 15 years ago. Every company counts every dollar, they are not in a rush to invest even in the most promising artists. More or less standard answer we can hear: “You have got a brilliant singer with an awesome potential and quality music! Now, go on working, and come back with a hit that took the world, or will 100% take it from our point of view.” 

Sure, I say it here in a simplified and overdone form, but the essential meaning is the same. In principle, they are right, and we do not feel offended. We do exactly what they tell us – go on working. 

The album is not released still, and taking into consideration the existing trends we can’t clearly say what it will be – a traditional LP or something else, like XP (extra-play) i.e. a reduced album of 5-7 tracks. One thing to be clearly stated – it will not be “the first and the last” one. Lena is young and full of the will to work, we look ahead into the future. 

7. In my opinion, “World” is the best song you’ve composed for Lena’s solo career. What does this song mean to you? And what is your favorite Lena’s song? (Eric Cline, Alexander Heaven) 

World is very special song to me, and I’m glad that it catches somebody else in spite of its being strange and non-format one. The track doesn’t change from the verse to the chorus, if you noticed. This is just against the laws of songwriting. I will tell you not in a shy way that I made up the idea of this song and wrote the lyrics, I’m proud of it. What is the meaning of World, to my mind? It’s in that people are tender, romantic, fragile and vulnerable species facing the relentless and cruel powers of the surrounding world, and those powers themselves are being created by people…, while stars are eternally drawing the lines of the future, and humans are desperately running and fighting for love… 

My favorite songs are perhaps IRS, Beast, well, that would be enough. 

8. Should we be waiting for songs in Russian from Lena? (Yakov Zolotov)

Yes. We already wrote the Russian lyrics for IRS, Stay, Who I am, and Beast. Sasha Vulih writes for Lena.

9. Tell us about the new manager Tristram Buckley. Who is he and how did he become part of your team? What role are you now playing in the project? (Ilona Mayevskaya)

Tristram came to us from Sven. In the pre-t.A.T.u. times, Tristram used to be the manger of the band Sven was in. 

My role has not changed, I described it in the second question. I am still the executive producer. (In the time of t.A.T.u. I was called the “manager”. But it does not mean that I was actually a manager. I never knew how to sell a product, honestly, this process does not really fascinate me. I was called a manger due to the lack of love for the word “producer”, it has been “reinstalled” in Russia and became a cliche. Everywhere you turn there is a producer). 

10. Hello, Boris. First of all, I want to say “thank you” to you, Lena and the team for saving the original view on things, a the feeling for your desire to bring something new, something unusual into the world of music. The following information interests me: it is no secret that videos to songs are generally able to perform miracles, and without it can turn a hit into almost a landmark (is clear that in certain circles, but nevertheless) domain. In this regard, the t.A.T.u. team (and now Lena Katina as a solo artist) has always stood out, making videos, and more than once, touching upon her theme and atmosphere of emotion, hidden deep in the psyche of feeling by a kind of “shock therapy” of turning the attention on certain features and “problems” of society that ordinary people in everyday life do not want to notice. For example, I still watch “White Robe” with a sense of aesthetic delight and excitement of the nerve (which is good – if there is excitement, it means that the material has reached its goal not leaving you to feel indifferent). My wish is this: I want to believe that Lena and her team will to continue to keep the bar high in her videos, continuing to address the topics which society for one reason or another sees as taboo, and not being afraid to experiment, using a variety of innovative ideas, grotesque images and unpredictable event-sequences. The question is: do you plan as a team to shoot a truly strong, in its physiological stress, video with the duration of, say, a minimum of nine minutes with a level of professionalism and a plot that will attract not only dedicated fans, but many other people who perhaps, even with all their preconceived skepticism, will simply gasp from what they see? For example, Mylène Farmer’s videos from the initial stage of her work continue to delight the hearts of people, unwittingly involving more and more new fans. There is no doubt in the potential of your team since you never had a lack of ideas. I would want James Cox (who has proved his skills more than once) to film some sort of depressing, atmospheric, viewer-wounding mini-film-clip for Lena. It is clear that there is a question of money, but I think if you come up with really curious ideas, it is worth to invest large sums in the most enchanting implementation. (“Prekrasniy Uranovetz”)

Thank you for appreciating our efforts. Of course I would like to make something like this which you described. I even had an idea for such an extended video during the time of “Veseliye Ulibki”. It should have been an epic video about an airplane crash for the song “Vremya Luni”, turning into the plot of “Ne Zhaley”, being 15 minutes in length. When I was writing the synopsis, a small tear of a man fell onto the keyboard, and I imagined a million people crying bright tears to this video. Everything lays safely in my desk. And it’s not that we can’t get the money for it, but that it is impossible to sell. Meaning, we can sell it, like any small budget video, and automatically a question is posed: “What’s the fucking point?”. 

The curse of the business is that you cannot do everything you want, but that which sells. And only in rare occurrences (refer to question 5) it comes together at 100%. (We tried to make true art and made the album “Veseliye Ulibki”/“Waste Management”. Even the fans, who acknowledged the quality and non-triviality of this disk, were very unhappy with the lack of sales).

11. It is known that the songs for Lena’s album are growing more than the standard requires. Regarding this, I ask: In addition to the standard addition, are there plans to release a deluxe version with all sorts of “goodies”, including an additional second disk with extra songs which did not make it onto the original album? I wouldn’t want the recorded material to just lay on a shelf, plus the fans are waiting for this for so long that it seems one disk will be too little for them.  (“Prekrasniy Uranovetz”)

We do not know yet. Maybe we will do it, but I cannot promise anything. In any case there are always extra things that are left to lay around, but you won’t publish material which you yourself don’t like. 

12. Is Lena Katina for you a project, a living legend, a phoenix, a best friend, a creative passion…or something else? (Alisa Bigsileva, Grisha Siraev)

Lena is a talented artist, with whom working is a honor and pleasure, and she is also my true friend, which time has proved, who has never deceived me and never will. 

Source: Lena Katina’s Official VK Page