A great interview with the leader of the group Lyapis-98 Sergey Mikhalok

Mar 20th, 2019

The legacy of the legendary group “Lyapis Trubetskoy” continues to live in the framework of the new team of Sergei Mikhalka – “Orchestra” Lyapis-98 “. In 2018, the cult album “You Threw” turned 20 years old. The big North American tour of the rock band “Lyapis-98” starts on October 4th. It will be held in ten cities of America and Canada: Miami, Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis, Toronto, Boston, New York. 

The leader of the Belarusian groups Brutto and Orchestra “Lyapis-98” – Sergey Mikhalok gave an interview to the magazine “On Air”. “Iron Man” on the stage, in an interview with the magazine, Sergey found the right words for fond memories of his childhood, a story about his family and shared his admission that he is still capable of “piercing him in a tear”.

You have always had a “nomadic” life: you were born in Dresden, then you lived in the Altai Territory, Norilsk. Moving to Minsk, life in Moscow and Kiev … What is in you from each of the “lived” cities? 

Small cities are taught to appreciate the microclimate and live in sight when everyone knows about everyone. In small cities you are content with small ones: what books you have in the library – you read them, there is one section – you go into it, what things or products you bring to the mentor – they are good … Norilsk is a cold city: it teaches to appreciate warmth – relationships become extremely important. Words and deeds are weighted and thorough. The polar night makes the attitude towards the sun and light almost altogether religious. In Moscow, you need to plan the day very well and be constantly assembled – this city eats onlookers and idlers.

And Minsk is my Elysium. Here, all my romance, dreams, youthful aspirations … When I walk through Gorky Park, I can remember a separate story about each scene, attraction, and even a shop. The whole city is my family album! In Minsk, I’m a little drunk from memories and delight. I walk like a Buddha and smile! We love to walk with Zelya and Makar ( wife of Svetlana Zelenkovskaya and son. – OnAir ) along the alleys around Komsomolsk lake. There is the Island of Birds, and Makar believes that the Hobbits live there … You can tell about Minsk and me only in a multi-volume novel – one interview is not enough. 

How much the city and place of residence affect a person? Have you become a little different, moving to Kiev?

Any city alive! He breathes, talks, looks and tells, helps you or vice versa hinders, if you do not fit each other. Kiev is beautiful, very joyful and free. He is very atmospheric! Kiev has a special biorhythm that is suitable for a full, rich life and fruitful work! I always have inspiration here – it’s not for nothing that I recorded seven or eight of my albums. And the Dnieper! When I cross the bridge over to Trukhanov Island, I really hear some scraps of phrases, words — I even look around. But I understand that this is a river so something is broadcasting … Mystic. 

How do you remember your home from childhood? 

GDR Dresden. Green patterned carpet and a tub with a pillow from nanny Uzbekzhechki. And also a house in the village, surrounded by linden trees, a huge ficus, a picture with a bather and a father’s seven-string with translations on it.

What in you today is from that boy? What, laid down by parents, and not life experience, has become your kind?

Mom and Dad were Soviet intellectuals. Read and modern. They could give all the money for a collection of books by Hugo or rare records! At home there were a lot of magazines “Youth” and “The Finder.” I was taught to be independent and to make choices. I could go to any section or circle myself, without edification and tips from adults. And I had to spend every summer in a village near Minsk, so as not to lose touch with my native Belarus. The only exceptions were shifts in sports and labor camps. I feel a great, almost sacred connection with Belarus. My grandfathers and great-grandfathers lived here with dignity. They built houses, cultivated the land, fought, worked! I get here like a magnet. I really feel delight and awe when I return to my homeland. Here are my roots, and I hope that I can convey to my children the love of our land. I have tremendous vitality from my father, creative nature and humor, and from my mother – calmness and perseverance in all situations. Papa had been ill with Parkinson for 17 years, and his mother was carrying him on her shoulders. This is the outgoing type of hero Hyperborean. Now people are not ready for feats. Only if for the sake of likes and subscribers …

Do you recognize in yourself, now also your father, your father? Do you become like him over the years? 

Only externally. We are very different: my father was a regular officer, solid, solid and strong-willed. And I myself still as a character in “Pedagogical poem”. That is ready to build on a subbotnik, then steal apples from hooligans. A personal example, in my case, is a very controversial pedagogical device. In general, “Usatiy Nannies” is almost about me … Although I myself worked several times as a cult-organizer in children’s camps, and the children loved me. But parents and colleagues did not share childhood sympathies: I miraculously escaped lynching for innovative and even outrageous lessons in theology or musicology. 

What are the traditions of your family today?

We have a young family. We are nomads. Our traditions and rituals are only being formed. But they are … We always and everywhere go in for sports – this is not discussed. We watch only children’s channels on TV. We do not discuss cases with a child. We feed pigeons every morning. We do not eat fast food and store sweets. We do not drink alcohol and do not smoke. We do not punish children … 

You somehow admitted that the son Makar still has not learned to relate you (dad) and you (Brutto soloist). What is the difference between these two Sergei Mikhalka?

In real life, I always fall short of my stage image. This leads to dissatisfaction with themselves and the constant race for the ideal. Sometimes it looks heroic, but more often it’s ridiculous … Outside Brutto, I am softer, more fun and sentimental … And I’m also out of the scene older – more grumbling, admonitions, nostalgia and teachings. On stage, I am more than Pierrot and Pinocchio, and at home – Tortilla and Karabas, or rather Duremar. And I also love and am able to solve simple everyday moments myself: repairs, home improvement, buying food, clothes for relatives … It distracts me from work.

How do you usually spend time at home when there are several days off? 

I try to be as much as possible with Makar: walk, play, go to the theater or the cinema. I even take it with me to the gym, where there is a children’s room – let him watch how dad trains. Zelea and I have learned to escape from the city for a couple of days, at least for a couple of days. Usually, we just sharply say in the morning: “We must tick!”, We grab Makarka and rush out of the city … And I should always have a day of complete solitude and inaction. I can rent a hotel room and listen to mantras for a day or read a book by Philip Dick or William Gibson (I am an fan of alternative fiction from my youth). A day without a computer, work and worries. 

Is there something in art that can “pierce you into a tear”?

Movie. I always worry when reviewing “Flying over the Cuckoo’s Nest” or “Faun’s Labyrinth”. Milos Forman, Andrei Tarkovsky, Terry Gilliam, Federico Fellini, Jean – Luc Godard, David Lynch, Coen Brothers … I don’t imagine myself without a movie! But I can not listen to music. For almost a year I did not listen to music on purpose, in order to take a break from the avalanche of information. Now I’m listening again, but only Bryan Ferry, Mike Patton, Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits. And also favorite electronics: from Front 242, Kraftwerk to Ladytron and Orbital. But the new one is very rare. 

We all tried to start living in a new way from Monday. You did it. What was this moment X when you told yourself that you are starting a new life? What was the impetus? And what helped not to break, and move on?

I realized that the comfort of life, money, home, car will not replace unrealized dreams. Being a rich and famous artist, bathing in self-admiration and adulation of others, I degraded and almost died spiritually and physically … Alcohol, drugs, permissiveness allowed me to become a flabby cynic and a bourgeoisie. I had to throw off all the philistine capital, reshape my body and mind to become real. Immediately returned respect for the group “Lyapis Trubetskoy.” When I felt that it turns my life into predictable comfort – again, without regret, they nullified and risked. You can enter the same river many times – if you run faster than the waves! .. Here again I spoke with catchphrases – you need to work on vanity. ( Laughs)) Now only daily work, mental and physical training helps me to keep my body and mind in good shape. Staying young and insolent is an impossible form of life, but it is the only form of life! Everything else is substitution and self-deception.

That Sergey Mikhalok, that sang “Green-eyed taxi” and drank, and today, with morning jogs, muscles and such songs as “Godze!” – this is the same person! There is no fear that he, the former, will return, is it enough to weaken the will?

Climbing to the top is a long and difficult journey. Flying down is one mistake … A couple of seconds of enthusiastic flight with seconds of fear of the last flash. (This is my black humor). Let’s be optimistic, but do not forget that the most fatal thing in the world is negligence. Negligence, negligence, carelessness brought more tragedies to the world than real evil or hatred. Therefore, awareness is so important! And, in fact, I am now more like an eighteen-year-old than myself at 28 years old – both physically and in character. I am again a cheerful and cheerful maximalist! I just learned to communicate properly with my demons. Not to fight and fight, but to negotiate and tame … Suddenly, they will still come in handy in our unpredictable time? ( Laughs. ) 

What is happiness for you today?

Many people confuse happiness and pleasure. Happiness is not an instant, it is a flow. The ability to realize goals and solve problems on the way to the cherished dream. To experience the right desires for balance and harmony. Be useful. 

Just be. 

Nastasya Kostyukovich 
Source: On Air magazine