An interview with the participants of LAFESTA music project was introduced in August issue of «Otdohni» magazine (2013) in «Close up» column.
Three soul mates: Igor, Olga and Nikolay – unique group, the only team, working in electro style in Ukraine, – opera vocal in combination with popular stylish music.
Igor, Olga, you took Europe by storm by electro opera style. Explain us in detail what is it and when Ukrainians will be able to enjoy your big concert?
Igor: We, as a music project, decided to create our own peculiarity and unique character several years ago, therefore we started carrying out experiments with music styles. Electro opera is a combination of opera vocal and stylish, pop music, such as lounge, house, funk. As a result we have a unique fascinating sounding. Show-concert «Electro Opera» takes place on the 30th of October in concert hall of «Ukrainian House», situated on the European square in Kiev. Symphony orchestra and modern ballet participate in the concert and there will be a big video screen. We are sure that lovers of either opera vocal and classic music or pop music will be impressed by what they hear and see. Although we have more than 100 concerts a year on different parties, corporate parties, in night clubs, we postponed our concert-portrait for a long time, as we didn’t want to give up quality for rush. We do not support the situation, when a concert or music album is based on 3-4 good songs, and the other are for big quantity. That’s why we are glad to invite everybody on high-quality «Electro Opera»!
The names of your group means «holiday». And what are your favourite holidays?
Olga: As for 5 years in succession we have been performing on social holidays (New Year’s day, the 8th of March, St. Valentine’s day) we formed a working attitude to them. And favourites are Christian holidays: Christmas and Easter. These days are ideal for being with family and closest people. We like Christmas and Easter Eve the most. Special spirit is in the air and even people passing by seem to be a bit another.
Tell us, please, how the group appeared?
Igor: We have created LAFESTA group already having substantial work individually. Therefore, we may say we matured for this project within ourselves. And as everything good occurring in our life this happened spontaneously.
Olga: Igor and Nikolay worked together in the format: DJ and saxophone. Nikolay invited me, as we had known each other by studying in Kiev conservatory, on one of his performance (which took place in «Angel Lounge» restaurant). And it was enough to communicate for only 15 minutes by a cup of coffee to realize that three soul mates had met. The next day we started studio work over the first song.
Who takes care of your daughter when her parents are on tour?
Olga: The most caring and reliable persons for a child, apart from its parents, could be grandma and grandpa. So we have decided while a child is small we will entrust it to the closest person. At the moment we are flying for tours, which lasts not more than 2 days, and as a daughter is on breast feeding, our freezer at home is filled with frozen milk. When she grows older, we will fly to neighboring countries and Europe together.
How long have you been married? Tell us, please, how you met?
Olga: We got married 4.5 years ago, and we have been together for 6 years. Our first meeting was on the railway platform. We both waited for acquaintances and met each other. When our eyes met I forgot all tips and rules that one shouldn’t get acquainted in the street. As it turned out, Igor’s friend Nikolay and I have studied together in Kiev conservatory and Igor asked him to invite me on their performance. Remember that night listening lounge performed by them I looked at Igor’s shirt with bright stripes and thought: «I’d love to iron this shirt for him». In several days we met in a cozy coffee-house on Lva Tolstogo square. It was winter and when I stepped out of taxi was the moment he truly fell in love with me, as Igor said later. I have natural large eyes, in addition I wore big fur cap and when I found him in the crowd and our eyes met this was the beginning of real relationship.
Is there place for jealousy in your relationship?
Olga: I think minor jealousy is present in every relationship. If you love and value a person, you have an ownership feeling beyond your will (in a good sense). The main thing is to give each other fewer reasons for jealousy. When a woman is performing on the stage, hundreds of men look at her. And men understand quickly the message, which her behavior and character bring. If she is sophisticated and her heart is engaged in love, then her behavior will not give the reason for jealousy. The same concerns a man. Upbringing and love creates a true man.
How do you manage to unite work and private life? Do you quarrel because of work?
Igor: It is a good luck that we work together, this means that we travel, go through good moments and difficulties together. Mutual memories build strong relationships. Therefore, we like to work together and during these years we have not been tired of being together constantly.
Olga: Even if we have some frictions concerning work, we may call them rather disputes or debates, and not quarrels. Having a quarrel on what voice part to record or in what order we should sing songs on the concert is absurd.
Olga, you always have extravagant onstage dresses. Who designs them and sew?
Olga: I create my concert images by myself, and my good friend sews them to my order. Lately we have been making experiments with lighting elements. But, unfortunately, we have no time to finish two concert gowns with the creative lighting. As I love architecture in hi-tech style, I try to bring something similar in my onstage images.
Do you have a such notion as working day? If so, when does it start and finish?
Igor: We do not have a notion «working day», but we do have a notion «you have to». There are days when we have to get up at 5 a.m. to prepare for morning photo session, after that we have a studio record of a new song, then a concert late at night, and at 4 a.m. we have to get up, as we are having a flight at 6.20 a.m. and road tour. We have also a notion «working month»; this means that in such a tempo we have the whole December. But, of course, working for yourself has a main advantage – if you do not want to take a concert and are going for a vacation, you can afford this.
Do you keep up with fashion, do you have favorite designers?
Olga: I do not visit fashion shows, and do not chase certain brands. I love a combination of everyday comfort (casual) and modern style. I like elements of sixtieth and seventieth in clothes. Perhaps, such nostalgia for recent retro is caused by parents’ early photos and Soviet and Italian movies of that period. Sometimes original clothes one can buy in small private shops.
What is the most expensive thing in your outfit?
Olga: Taking a price into consideration the most expensive thing is a mink coat. But for me valuable are things not the most expensive, but favorite one. Therefore, this can be a BGN suit, or my daughter’s first crawlers with printed chickens.
Do you like travelling? Tell us, please, about the most recent experience?
Igor: Our work gives us a unique chance to travel. Sometimes it happens that during a month we visit 4 different countries. Considering countries of the former USSR we were impressed by Baku. City is being rebuilt in a beautiful manner, and the main thing is that it is being realized in style and national color. In some districts of Batumi we had a feeling of being in Madrid or Barcelona. By walking in Rome it was nice to meet the group of Ukrainian emigrants singing Ukrainian national song among the variety of nationalities on Madonna de Monti square (not far from Coliseum).
Olga: Igor and I collect plates with hand painting, and our saxophonist corkscrews. So except impressions and photos we bring home small parts of those cities.
Cuisine of what country do you like and do you cook by yourself?
Igor: I guess, you may find favorite dish in every European national cuisine if it is cooked tasty and correct. I like Georgian dolma, Italian lasagna, Norwegian lutefisk. But of course native Ukrainian cuisine comprises 90% of ration. Also it is important where you eat and when. For instance, if we are visiting friends and having lunch outdoors, we like fish and vegetables on grill.
Olga: I cook Ukrainian national cuisine borshch, zrazy, varenyky well. And as Igor is a sweet tooth, I bake cakes when I have time. Particularly popular is pear-chocolate cake and lemon cookies.
What life rules do help you to live and build a successful career in show business?
Olga: When you work in a team one of the main rules is an ability to accept a point of view of other people, and not only hold your own. From the very beginning we agreed that in case two of three LAFESTA members stick to another point of view, the other one should not insist on his/her view. And we make final decisions only if three of us agree. In our family questions we act similarly. For example, hundreds of question could emerge when we were making renovation at home: what colour to choose to paint walls, what tile or furniture to buy. And even if our tastes are similar we never buy things if only one of us likes it. Thanks to this we have no things which one of us would like to change in a year after the renovation.
Do you have friends in show business?
Olga: It happened that behind the curtain our good friends are not singers or musicians, but showmen. We are always glad to meet and talk to Yuriy Gorbunov. He is a unique sociable person, who is not having a star fever; that is why it is nice to communicate with him. Under the curtains before the concert we have had a funny acquaintance with Lena Kravets from the 95th Kvartal. I marked attractive odour of perfume and asked about the name of it. Lena sent several MMS with the photo of her favourite perfume.
What was, in your opinion, the most venturesome step for your group?
Olga: As for me personally there were several adventurous moments. One of them we have recently remembered with Katya Osadchaya, when I being 8 months pregnant climbed pompier ladder to the stage, which was situated on the roof of Premier Palace Hotel. Katya had to put off her shoes and climb it barefoot, and what about me you can image it by yourself. And the whole period of pregnancy was rather troubling. The last concert I had given 3 days before childbirth on the event, devoted to Olympics in London, and 6 days after the birth I had new concerts.
What do you have to overcome to do your favourite work?
Olga: As in every affair, where you have to start everything from the ground up by yourself, and not to come to the prepared workplace with certain salary, there is always some risk. At the moment of creating LAFESTA project we have had a proper job. I gave performances on tour in Italy, Poland, and Germany with classical and pop program. Therefore we had to put aside all personal projects for the sake of working as one team. Not to make it sound abstract I may say that in that period representatives of one Italian company, which possessed great number of hotels, casino, restaurants, offered to move to Italy and tour over it.
What goals do you set yourself?
Igor: We are going to present our program “Electro opera” on the tour over Europe and we have already invitations to perform on 8 different jazz festivals. We hope this will be another one confirmation that Ukraine has stylish music.