acoustic, blues, jazz, dream pop / Novosibirsk "This music reaches the depths of the soul." It w...


acoustic, blues, jazz, dream pop / Novosibirsk
"This music reaches the depths of the soul."

It would be great to gather with the band, but there's no band anymore. So I'll speak for myself, and I can only share my personal impressions and some of my thoughts. Will they have to do with the actual situation – I don't know. Actually, I haven't yet realized that Gatos broke up. Maybe we will get together, and even with the same stuff, and there will be some new wonderful music. But it's also possible not to happen. This decision was not a conflict: the development of any project, of any person, any civilization is either rising or declining, but it is impossible to stand still. So, it happened that for now all of us have some other priorities, in favor of which the choice had been made. Partly, these priorities cover music. That is, music hasn't been abandoned, on the contrary, we're just too busy and don't have time for everything.

Band creator – these are too big words. They are absolutely unsuitable for me. I had the idea of recording a mini-album, and I realized that it's impossible to do alone. I was looking for a guitarist: the concept was very minimalistic, so one guitar was enough for recording. I was searching for someone for a long time and finally found. We met, talked, started to play together, learned the songs that we were going to record. And we recorded them... It happened so that the other guys heard this music and expressed a desire to work with us, and we were very happy and continued the journey together.

All began with Holly, and the first album was released as Holly. Then came the name Holly&Gatos to emphasize a group of people who are together with Holly. Then wasn't needed in fact, we discussed the name and became just Gatos, "tomcats".

We recorded the album for two hours, while we were preparing for two weeks. The album was released under the name Dark Proud Strong. Actually it's called Black Flo. Why I decided to give it the name of another song which was recorded almost in the last day on my phone dictaphone while playing piano – I really don't realize. When I'm going to arrange somehow my creative work, it will be definitely called Black Flo. And the main song there is, of course, Black Flo, it is very old, I wrote it two or three years before Gatos, but with Gatos it became more polished. The guitarist, with whom we recorded this album – Nixon, very quickly grasped my ideas and then interpreted them, added something of his own. This man has a hang of cinematography, he brought some lyrical lustre into music, something cinematic. It definitely present there, and it's to his credit too.

Gatos is a team with its own material despite the abundance of covers. And the latter songs were written by all together. For example, Julia, a pianist, started to play, came up with the harmony, I put some text and vocal melody upon it, then guys were connected, and song was being composed. Sometimes happened that we wrote a new song right before the concert, during the sound check, and played it that same night.

It's impossible to listen to your own music like music. You can't relax. As if you're opening your wound, your history. In general I write songs not when feel well. Also you're listening and thinking: "Oh, it's awful here, and this is better, well, need to remember this place it may be useful". That is you're listening to it with some technical approach, analyzing, not relaxing, not thinking "Wow! It's awesome".

I don't sing about love. I sing, for example, about flowers. Or I don't sing about death, but about a black dress. That is, I sing about the abstract things that suggest associations to what I want to tell the audience. I thought a lot about texts in music and came to different conclusions at different times. Maybe about two years ago, I would say that the text is not as important as harmony, which creates from the words some sort of visual image, but not necessarily a clear story. Recently I would say that the text is all the meaning in the song, the most important and decisive. Now I think that it all depends more on the music and style of language. When I sing in English everything in the text is a sheer metaphor. And I haven't got yet many songs written in Russian to talk about it. But in comparison I get a little less figurative and a little more straightforward texts.

It is very difficult to describe own project in terms of style. There's something around-blues and near-jazz in the music of Gatos, but it's neither blues nor jazz. I tried to identify it by such words as dream pop at some point. Then it became something very eclectic. We even had a joke when asked about what kind of music we play, we are told – jazz, metal, funny.

Big thanks to the guys in "Truba", as they have given us the opportunity to develop. Probably they were disposed towards us because we performed there almost every Monday. Initially there was no agreement. Our first gig was there in July, then they invited us again... It was hard sometimes. Sometimes it seemed that all this was in vain, because of the lack of time, especially when some of us have had been studying and continue studying for now. We had no time to prepare something new at least for a week or two. There were different times, but still fine they were. Maybe they will be, who knows.
Our last concert was crucial. I did not even know that it was the last. For me it remains one of the most significant concerts. Seriously, I've never done all these things on stage. In the end we started improvisation, each made his own but keeping together. At some point I started to communicate with some otherworld forces, and it was wonderful. And people felt it, some of them for sure. There is a video of all this bacchanalia, but in fact, it doesn't reflect what was going on. I don't know how it sounded from the outside, but it doesn't even matter. It was something more than just a performance, I don't know how to express it, but then I shared something very personal, very intimate.

A dancing couple appeared on stage cause we wanted to add brightness. It was a tribute to Amy Winehouse, and her concerts, you could see two vivid Afroenglish, or Afroamericans, I don't know. They were generally back singers, but still they danced well, very positive guys – even when Amy in doubtful state sprawled on the stage, they created the right atmosphere. I thought, "If I have something like that, even if I'm going to mess it up..." Well, I'm kidding. Actually, I just wanted to add a visual element to make the others move to the rhythmic songs of Amy. It was just one-time experiment. Will there ever be something like that? Who knows, maybe.

I don't understand the word "manner". I was recently said, "You sing all in your only one manner". And I don't know what to say to that, I don't know how I'm supposed to understand it, I don't know what manner is. There are very expressive songs, and there are very quiet ones, neat ones, where you sing in absolutely another voice – quietly, softly. It's not of great importance what emotions you put into a song, but what you're feeling at the moment: anger, wrath, passion, hatred, love, tenderness... Even when a person is just talking, he's also always sounds different. When one is whispering words of love to someone it sounds different than when this person's shouting at subordinates. I exaggerated the examples, of course. But with vocals as well it all depends on the song.

My scat is still an imitation of the pipe, it is rather straightforward, and I don't hold to sax in some moments. I was fond of Bobby McFerrin from the very early age: he didn't imitate pipe, he imitated other instruments, a guitar, something else. He worked greatly with the resonators. And in quite young age the idea of the possibility od such things had settled in me. I once sang one blues song and forgot the text, and I started scating and scated until the end of the song. Did I try to do it before? No. You won't believe it. And that first scat was good, seriously.

Once, one comment crept me out. People wrote that my voice reminds them as if Lana Del Rey is being raped by David Gilmour. Here we go. And why so: there was our cover on Pink Floyd song where I was singing with the flower wreath on my head. People's associations switched on, so they reacted. In fact, it has nothing to do with my voice.

The last two concerts we played with the pianist. One of them was in Narymsky square. It was raining. It was a kind of rain that I thought: "Oh, I gonna be striked by current through the microphone". But well, not that time. I had my favorite wreath of white roses, but I didn't put it on, I thought: "There's a lot of people, I feel a bit constrained, I won't mount this kokoshnik on my head. What for will I attract excess attention to myself, I will be singing aside". And in the middle of the performance, between songs one of my friends came to me. It was an amazing moment when she gave me the wreath of dark-red roses. This thing really impressed me, touched my soul in a good way. This was something intimate, something beautiful.

Really, my name is Holly. You have no idea how often I answer this question.

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