Ilia Lagoutenko on Swedish Radio P4

Carolina Noren talk to Ilia Lagoutenko, October 19th, Sweden, Malmoe, Radio P4, Curry Curry programme.

Lady Alpine Blue song is heard.

Carolina: Good evening and welcome Ilia Lagoutenko!

Ilia Lagoutenko: …and a good evening to you!

And — are you satisfied with the concert last night?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely, it was nice to be back in Copenhagen after a few months for a solo performance and — yeah, we actually enjoyed the show, it was great!

Lets talk some about Eurovision Song Contest because for the listeners, that’s where they recognised you. Have your lives and careers changed in any way after the competition?

Not really, as I would say, because we are a pretty buys band back home in Russia, and we didn’t really consider Eurovision to be a breakthrough at home, so — it was just a really nice trip over to Copenhagen where we visited, actually, Denmark for the first time during the wake of Eurovision and — I mean — someone actually paid for nice hotels and lots of Champagne over there. And we were sure that we probably — aaahm — weren’t scheduled to get any privacy (laughs) over there this time, but we definitely had a nice time and… you know, there were only three minutes actually on stage. So we had quite a lot of fun, it was different from what we’re usually doing (laughs).

Yes, because I mean, in Russia, you’re one of the biggest — or the biggest pop- and rock band. Did you do the Eurovision because it was a way to get out to the rest of the…

You know, it was a fun story because one day, the bosses of our television said: `What are you doing at the moment?’ and I said `Oh, we’re just recording this new song and we might have a version in English’ and he said `Can we use it, can we listen to it, can we use it for Eurovision competition?’ so I said `OK, go for it’ and the other day we got a phone call from them who said: `You’ve won! Now you go there and be the ambassadors of Russia on the European pop market’ and I said `OK — aren’t you afraid that people will probably consider Russia a bit strange? (laughter) if we go to the Eurovision?’

Yeah, it was nice — I mean, for us as a band, it was really big positive results in a way because we got a really huge television audience all over Europe and all over the world. Eurovision in Russia is not really a big thing and people consider it as some foreign… I don’t know… it’s just the same characters for them, so they just don’t really know all of that hype and… cool and uncool things about Eurovision which you know here, and so for our Russian fans it just was, you know, `OK, the band goes somewhere again’. But funnily enough, after Eurovision, we probably was the band who had the best reviews. (laughter) ..all over Europe, because I followed the press and media in UK and Germany and some other European countries and all of them say `OK, it was one interesting thing, at least’ (laughter) It was a band called Mumiy Troll and they’re from Russia, would you believe in it! Surprisingly enough, I read the article in London that `Future of pop music probably in Russian hands’ (laughter).

Let’s talk some more about if you’re strange or not, because I still think that a lot of people that read the articles… (laughter)…

…no, we’re really normal, we’re normal people. I’ve been to a doctor last night (laughter)…

No, no, no, no, no! We’re going to go through my little paper here with stuff you’ve said and… but first, let’s listen to some more music from Mumiy Troll — you have done a lot of other songs than Lady Alpine Blue. Lucky bride, what can you say about that song?

…the bride definately should be lucky… (laughter)… and youv should be lucky to listen to it, ha ha…

Lucky Bride song is heard (English version of Nevesta?)

Let’s go back a little bit to the Eurovision Song contest, because I think that you made a lot of people confused: you were talking about building submarines, going away…

…it was not me… (laughter) I just had one at one time but we sold it he he he… it’s cheap back home, you see, and the aeroplanes are not in fashion anymore, so… he he he…

OK, but then we’ve cleared that out! But your name — I know that you’ve described why you call yourselves Mumiy Troll, but I am still confused, because in Sweden a Mumi Troll is a Finnish little white person in a cartoon. Why did you pick the name Mumiy Troll?

I don’t know! Because it was a long, long time ago and we were, you know, teenage kids who were just after some strange name and, obviously, being guys from as far as Vladivostok, which is simply just other side of the planet, we just said `OK, what really strange things could happen to you? Probably when you meet Moomins in your — I don’t know, in your yacht or something like that…’

But what is Moomins for you?

I mean, we knew those characters… we knew it came from some Scandinavian fairytales or whatever — we just didn’t know it because it wasn’t really cult cartoons in Russia. Ahmm, so we just decided to play with the name a bit, that’s how we actually ended up with the name Mumiy Troll, which sounds like Moomins but in Russian and in any language it also sounds a bit like Egyptian mummies, which are basically interminable creatures. And trolls, thye also have, you know, two faces, you can have, like evil trolls and you can have really fairy, kind of kind wizard trolls who’ll give you nice things and take care of you. So we’re more like eternal mother… (?) (laughter) When we started, people told us: `Well, you see, people will never ever remember this name, they never ever can spell it correctly’ and we said: `Well OK, that’s why we’re getting this name, because if you at least remember it once, then you remember it forever (laughter).

Yeah, I think, actually, people remember the name, because it’s like `Oh, yeah, that band which performed at the Eurovision — with that name…! But when you were growing up and started with the band, because you’ve had it for quite a long time, what was it like? I mean, you grew up and played in this rock band during the Soviet regime — was it difficult?

Yes, I mean, it was just different, it was difficult if you compare it to modern times, but things changed a lot and at the moment we’re just remembering those old times, you know, like joke or just laughing, because we never considered it as a career or, you know, we didn’t have a music market at that time back home in Russia. And it was like a hobby or underground activities in which young people entertain each other. But things changed for us ten years and we did different odd jobs through the years and I graduated from university and I spent a few years in China doing some Chinese historian rehearses, whatever. But then five years ago we’ve met all together and a friend of mine said: `Why don’t you record all those songs which you made before, because you still have a certain amount of your loyal fans back home in Russia. Give them a kind of present so at least they can can remember like old times when they kind of used to live in a different country and a different world…’ So I said: `Let’s do it!’ And we did it, and we didn’t intend to sell it, basically, but it just became so successful in Russia, so we said: `OK!’ So we quit our jobs to continue to do music for the rest of our lives. (laughter)

Blown Away song is heard (English version of Utekai)

I know absolutely nothing about the rock- and the music scene in Russia. But I have a lot of fantasies of how it could be like (laughter). But you do! Just tell us, I mean, we’re quite curious about Russia as a country, what’s it like?

It’s big, it’s one thing I can tell you, because… It’s funny, when we’re going on tour in our homeland Russia, it usually takes us more than a year. (laughs) Yeah, could you imagine touring your own country Sweden for a year! Last tour, we did about a hundred and eighty dates only in Russia. It’s hard to believe, but, for instance, we have like ten time zones. So to fly from my home town Vladivostok to Moscow, it’s a nine hours flight. And it’s only one hour flight to Tokyo and three hours flight to China, he he he! So when people asked: `Where is the nearest night club in Vladivostok?’, people usually said: `In Tokyo’! (laughter)

But I’ve heard there’s a lot of trouble, I mean, for you in Russia when you sell the records because there’s so much illegal copying of your recordings…

Yes, unfortunately, because according to some official statistics, we probably sold over ten million copies all over Russia, but in fact we’ve been paid for not even one percent of it. But it’s a government problem to think about, but at the moment they probably have too many other problems to sort out; intellectual property, they’re still trying to divide.. you know, actual things, he he he!

…they do other things than listen to Mumiy Troll. But the Russian Mafia, everybody are so fascinated about the Russian Mafia and think that they control everything. Do they?

Oh, you know, for the last few years, I can only see them in Hollywood movies. And actually, I have a friend of mine, who is based in London, who’s in charge for acting almost all russian gangsters in all Hollywood movies! Yes, it was in the film Snatch the last time!

Otherwise I’m a bit curious, I mean, when you hear about Russia in the news, it’s either some kind of disaster, or poverty or Russian gangsters… But what’s it like in your opinion, is the country changing with a lot of different things? What’s going on?

I think so, yes, because for at least the last five years it’s changed a lot and.. all of those changes, maybe they’re too slow. But they’re definitely for good. And hopefully the situation will change and… it might seem like a bit of black humour, but now we have more disasters that came from other places. (laughter) Russia is Russia, it’s a very calm and peaceful place, believe me! Go to Siberia and I guarantee you that you’ll have the nicest time of your life, because it’s kind of civilised at the moment. You can see cash machines in the streets, and satellite television and Mc Donalds (laughter)!

You have promised that you were going to ask a question to the listeners so they can win some of your records. What’s your question, Ilia?

My question is: Which waters wash the shores of my home town and the home town of Mumiy Trolls of Vladivostok? I’ll give you three guesses: is it Sea of Japan, Moscow river or Vattern lake?

Carnival song is heard (English version of Karnavala.Net)

I think that you managed to ask the most difficult ever on this program. (laughter) But I have really intelligent listeners! Robert Borden in Malmoe, hello!

Robert: Yes I am here, hello!


What’s the right answer to the question, Robert?

Robert: Because I know it, it was the Japanese sea!

Oh, GREAT, Robert, GREAT! (laughter)

Robert: And you know, why the reason why I am a freak over history! I know that Russia are losing most of the ships in the 1904 war, you know…

Yes! Exactly! Yeah!

Robert: And it was just outside in this sea that they were losing them against the Japanese. I’m sorry to say it, but it’s one hundred years ago.

Yeah, but do you know, that at the moment, it’s one of the most favourite voyage destination for people in Vladivostok, to go to this place where actually this battle happened! Because it’s in a sub-tropical place. So it takes about one day by boat from Vladivostok to this channel where everything happened and especially for christmas time, people go there just to have fun! (laughter)

Robert: I only want to ask one question. I hear your music and I wonder if you get the influences from the sixties and the seventies, you know, when we had the heavy metal band Deep Purple and such?

Yeah, I was born in the late sixties — early seventies, so probably I’ve absorbed it by mother’s milk.

Well, congratulations to the CD:s, I’ll mail them to you!

Robert: Ja, tack sjalv, och lycka till for han! (Pa underbart bred skanska)

Ilia, I know that lots of listeners want to know. What will you be doing now?

Well, at the moment we’ll have a little break, just after the European tour, because we just came back from Germany and Denmark, we played there. And I think in a few weeks time, we’ll go into the studio where we’ll start to record the songs for our new album which hopefully we can manage to finish maybe by next spring. So maybe next summer you can get a new singles from us and a new album which this time will be released both sides of the Russian border. So in Russia it will be in Russian and outside Russia… ehm, possibly in English or maybe in Swedish if I learn enough — not just `pussa mig’ (laughter)

Yes, I think you’ll need to learn some more Swedish than `pussa mig’ (kiss me)… (laughter)

…because i’m pretty bad with `good evening’ (laughter)

Thank you very much for being here!

Thanks a lot and have a good time and see you soon!