St. Petersburg can either conjure up palm trees, expansive coasts and retirees, or if your mind itself is more expansive or steeped in history, you’ll think immediately of Russia’s second largest city, Saint Petersburg, that jewel of a place that lies on the River Neva, and is named after the czar who built it.
Cats Park, centered around Alex Andreev and Faijee, the duo from Saint Petersburg, Russia, has a sound that conjures some of the subtle magnificence of their home, with their unexpected blend of jazz, down tempo rock, trip hop, and ethereal. Unexpectedly, they’re also a band who know how to get all “MacGyver” on us before a set when emergencies occur.
Cats Park’s debut EP, “Face the Future”, which was released this spring, has a many-layered richness that belies the fact that the band has only been together for two years.
[Beautiful video with gauzy, lapping waters of Finland Bay, piano on the beach, timeless look].
Cats Park often favor dreamy band stills with ruined porn graffiti walls, but they recommend the Hermitage as a place to visit, for its traditional, (and never boring), artistic dichotomy. Perhaps they too are fans of Nabokov, who was born in Saint Petersburg, whose writing was its own intensely beautiful language about unsavory topics, and of course Dostoyevsky, for his building up of dialectical arguments from the filthy walk ups, drunks and stolid poverty.
There were many, and one of those episodes was more funny than odd, I believe. We were preparing to record one of our live performances, and Anton, our former keyboard player, was playing old German electronic organ, the Vermona Formation 1. Suddenly, it switched off right before the gig. Anton even started to punch monitors and racks and other stuff around him. We were running out of time then, so everyone got really nervous and suddenly it came to me that we should check the organs fuse. And yes, that was the fuse that went broken! And there were no spare ones around, so I took a chewing gum out of my pocket, tore off a piece of foil in which it was packed and wrapped it around the fuse. We switched our Vermona on and it worked! I believe it lived on long on this foiled fuse after the gig. (However, in terms of safety, I strongly recommend you not to do such things with your stuff. And one should always have a pack of spare fuses with him when playing some important gig!)
What strange things have happened to you in your ordinary life?
It’s hard to point out some special, single episode. There have always been so many interesting events and people around us that it would hardly be fair to say that some of them are worth to tell about, and some are not. I dare say, life as a whole is one ever-changing, captivating thing.
What’s your favorite site at the moment, maybe some city you performed in?
Perhaps, it’s our native Saint Petersburg. But I should say that if to compare Saint Petersburg to other cities, the audience here is far more calm and sophisticated.
Where would you like to perform in the future? And with whom you’d like to share the same stage?
There are many places in the world where we haven’t ever been, so this list is endless. And there are many bands and musicians we share the same spirit with, starting with such major figures as Radiohead, Sigur Ros, Massive Attack and many other less known projects. There are a lot of good bands nowadays whom we’d be glad to play with.
Which of the artists of those who are no longer with us you’d like to bring back to life? Maybe there are some living ones you would like not to see on this planet?
There’s no need to change anything, everything’s in its place. Those who passed away still live among us as we keep them in our memory and if you don’t like someone walking this earth you can just try not to think of this person, to keep him or her out of your mind. That’s all.
What places are worth visiting in Saint Petersburg? We don’t really like all those luxurious trendy clubs; we mean places where people still do talk of something interesting, not only about new looks and clothes. And of course where you don’t necessarily need to be sober.
Try visiting Saint Petersburg’s Hermitage. I bet you haven’t been there for a long time! It’s not trendy at all, and it still obtains this special atmosphere of art you can hardly find elsewhere. Surely you may have a beer or two before going there and it’s not prohibited to talk there, in a low voice, of course.
And one more naïve question: what are you inspired by?
We draw inspiration from everything around us. From our personal life, our relationships with other people, landscapes and cityscapes, fine arts, movies, books, music… There are many things we can’t ignore and many of them certainly do inspire us.
What are you working at presently? How do you share the creative process?
Now we are working at some new songs we’re going to release this autumn. We also are in search of a suitable light and visual solution for our live performances. In general, music and everything associated with it is a permanent process, where you always have something to work at. And we share this process intuitively.