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Interview with Gayana

The Moscow English-speaking group Gayana is a fresh project of the domestic music scene, which performs refined eighteenth-century pop music. The unique music and style of Gayana turned out to be in demand both at the country’s largest festivals and at various club venues.

We won’t tell further, we think Gayana and Vladimir Boytsov themselves will be able to present their team.

Here’s a situation for you, I’m an ordinary listener. Some music is playing in my player. One melody replaces another, why should I focus on your song? What can catch me, spoiled by modern diversity, in your work?
Gayana Boytsova: We do not pursue the goal of hooking the listener. In commercial pop music there are different clichés for this, but we are not interested in and do not use it, since our only task is to write sincerely about what is of particular importance to us, without any tricks. I can assume that just the sound and style, which are not like all the musical diversity, can catch. Those who know English can be hooked on texts whose themes are not peculiar to pop music as such.

I read reviews of your albums, faced with a huge number of reproaches, directly bursting with bile, how do you feel about criticism?
Gayana Boytsova: Yes, we read different opinions, but still there are much more positive and pleasant reviews. Negative comments do not upset me much, they are often based on an initially skeptical attitude towards either English material from a Russian group or the sound of the 80s, which supposedly became a trend, which I do not really agree with. Now I am confident in the quality and value of the work itself and its content. Personally, criticism has the same effect on me as the complements – I want to work on and create something valuable to leave a mark on world music.

Many of your lyrics are a reflection of Bible stories. Nowadays, religion is generally skeptical at best. Not afraid to earn a stigma?
Gayana Boytsova: It depends on what brand. If they will know us as a team glorifying God through their music – such a stigma is to my liking. In our texts you will not meet attempts to interpret the Bible. They talk about my personal spiritual experience, about my relationship with the Lord, my personal choice: for whom and why I write music. Opponents of religion can be found even among those who believe in the existence of God. I am not calling anyone to anything — only the Lord is calling.

Honestly, I relate to “factory” projects like the “Voice” show with distrust, was it a test of my own abilities or an outlet from a creative impasse?
Gayana Boytsova: I treat them absolutely the same. For me, participating in the Voice was not a conscious step. Only the first season began, I understood that something large-scale and new for our country was planned, and something like a herd feeling worked. By the way, I do not regret it. I think that everything that happens is happening for a reason. The truth so far has not been able to assess how this project was really useful to me.

Do you seriously consider Russian language inexpressive?
Gayana Boytsova: Show me the article where I said this (laughs). Of course, I do not find it expressionless. I consider him great, indomitable and not as flexible in phonetic terms as I would like. I am sensitive to the Russian language, so I prefer not to engage in sacrilege, breaking it and adjusting it to tunes with a Western accent. I would rather ask this question to those performing artists whose Russian is sometimes much more difficult to understand than my English.

Are European and American listeners already familiar with your work?
Gayana Boytsova: Yes, electronic platforms are doing their job. From time to time we receive very pleasant reviews from foreign listeners on Soundcloud and Bandcamp. But an active acquaintance is still ahead.

The eighties were perhaps the most controversial time in music. The old giants lived out, pop reached its peak, and by the end of the decade pure commerce was born. You call your style 80s music, why the time frame?
Gayana Boytsova: It’s not about style or concept. It’s just that for us, the 80s was just the time when commerce was just planning its offensive, and real music still ruled the scene. At the moment, the list of our favorite artists and albums is replete with old music, and, of course, it makes an impact. I would like to devote albums to such artists as Chuck Khan and Phil Collins. Drake and Thundercat do not yet inspire such accomplishments (laughs).
Vladimir Boytsov: Well, whatever one may say, we still love the sound and character of eighty instruments, synthesizers and drum machines. Their use in writing arrangements cannot pass without a trace. So it turns out the music of the 80s.

Despite the “world” sound of your albums, they feel national notes, I speak, first of all, about the voice. Gayana, Armenian legends have always been very beautiful and sophisticated, was there any thought of shifting some plot to music?

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