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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Shoo: Moscow group crossed fusion with tunes from different countries


In the capital recently hosted a week of music, Moscow Music Week, where four days in a row the clubs rattled festivals, showcases. This format allows the public to see young progressive musicians, experimenting in many different styles, and those who have already achieved significant results. Some of them — team Shoo, which became this year the winner of the contest “Usadba Jazz”. Your style the artists call “absolute soul” by mixing in it elements of funk, jazz, ethnic, neosoul, Blues, reggae, and along with Russian, Ukrainian, African motifs.

Photo: Michael Vilchuk

The team of five years ago brought together vocalist shun Balashov, a graduate of the Academy. College and Berklee College of Music. Over the shoulders of the guys performances at major festivals (in addition to the “Manor Jazz” this open-air “wild mint”, which is not repeatedly described “ZD”, “Koktebel Jazz Party”, ColorFest, etc.), performances and competitions, vivid video and cross-projects with other musicians (for example, a project dedicated to the 60th anniversary of Sergey Kuryokhin “Kuryokhin: NEXT”). Shun said “ZD”, what is today feel independent experimental team, why the first tour has become a serious challenge and that the total of the ethnic music of different countries.

– It is believed that academic education often hinder the musicians, not allowing them to go on an experimental path. You didn’t show that?

Directly the academic part of the education I received as a child, studying piano and violin, but it remained as an initial base. My main specialty is it- pop-jazz vocals. I think, ideally, if possible, the musician must undergo professional training. Music — the same profession as everyone else. It is necessary to understand, it is necessary to be able to play and create, to know certain nuances. Of course, there are nuggets — wonderful musicians who never studied and went his own way. But many of them are saying that at some point they lack the knowledge, technique, the basics to implement any ideas. This is what is taught in music schools and colleges. No matter how you seemed to move forward just on a whim, there are things that need to be explored. If to speak about the academic direction, you will agree that there is a lot of hard and fast rules. Our team full-time academic education received only keyboardist Maxim Meshcheryakov. He says we have harmony in the group (musical, of course), and I confess that it often happens that he criticizes the tunes that I suggest. But we eventually come to some common point of view, because so many listen to expand your horizons. In addition, each of the team members can offer their ideas, we discuss and accumulate them, so that the development goes. And in different directions. We do not set ourselves any boundaries.

– What challenges did you face when you began to reach a wider audience — from small clubs to large venues?

– Lately we have had many trips and situations where we need a long time to be together. Psychologically it is quite difficult: we are all different, all creative, with their personality. Let’s say we come to St. Petersburg, spend a week there. We have a few concerts, broadcasts, and meetings with colleagues. And all this time we, in fact, live in the same space, they are always side by side. The first time, touring was a challenge, but now we have learned to coexist peacefully (laughs). Generally, my group is my family, as corny as it may sound. Another test for durability is criticism and praise, and not from the public or even the experts and within the team. For a few minutes before we learned that we won the competition of the festival “Manor Jazz”, we almost quarreled. We thought that the performance was unsuccessful, and the situation was tense. We are all indifferent to the project, so don’t always feel the distinction in work situations when it is better to remain silent and not to criticize each other, when to be tougher or softer. It is impossible to praise each other, not to relax, but you need to avoid peer pressure. I know for myself, if I criticise, hands down. I think the ability to behave competently in different situations, too, comes with experience. We learn. I have realized that to lead the team is a very subtle skill. You must be a leader, a mother, a sister, a psychologist.


Photo: Alyona Romanova

– It does not prevent quietly to be creative and to concentrate on the songs?

– Depends on the person. I know people that this person is just not close. They gather the group, and then them starts to weigh what is necessary not only to play and create music, and to solve problems, to understand complex situations within the team, to cope with psychological difficulties. I love to do all this, it’s mine. As like all the members of his team, so for me it’s more a joy than a duty, in which I draw inspiration. While I have one important principle for me is the huge role played by the human factor. There were situations, when we started to work with a talented musician who was not as close to us as people. In this case, we had to part with these players because you need to keep a comfortable atmosphere inside the team, your space. And if Maxim is responsible for musical harmony in the group, I — for peace.

– How do you feel being an independent team on the stage today? It’s not so easy to reach a jaded public, to find horns promotion, not to get lost among the huge number of young bands…

– We are fortunate that we have the opportunity to develop. It was not in 1960-ies, when all went on the edge. Recently we were at a birthday party of one music portal, where gathered a huge number of artists who are willing and able to go out there and play their songs. There are a huge number of festivals, the Internet with social networks — the opportunity to be heard, and all of this can work. We’re not pop, we have a specific, for someone can be challenging music, but a great joy to have the opportunity to Express your creative idea in the form in which you want to do it. And if you do everything right, one way or another resonance occurs. We understand that it is unlikely we will compete in the stadiums, but we have our own target audience, she is expanding and we are satisfied with this dynamics.


Photo: Ekaterina Kukina

– Do you feel competition?

– Rather, it exists in the rock. And we are working with this style of music in which there is a very large field for experiments, so artists who choose this path, different and original. In a global sense this — world music.

– By the way, ethnic and world music for a long time been associated in the mass public in Russia exclusively with painted girls in the headdresses. Now the perception has changed?

– Yes, the audience develops. I noticed that just in the five years that we exist, there was a radical change in the consciousness of the listeners and from the moment we started, their tastes changed. For example, when there was a surge of interest in Russian groups singing in English, and all the polls are sung in English. Now it makes many rejection, and in fact young local teams, who sing in their native language — not so much in favour of them. Besides, who would not say that about the gap between pop and world music genres alternative, rock, jazz and indie festivals gather a huge number of people. This community is constantly expanding, which can not but rejoice.

– What is your main concept?

– Once a musician called our opus akmusique — such a funny definition. We call what we do “absolute soul”, because the concept of comprehensive. Initially, our task was to show that the ethnic music of different countries, both African and Oriental, and the other very harmoniously together, and these combinations sound fresh and unusual. Probably the global goal is to show that the whole world can be United. And how it can “sound” at the same time, is reflected in our songs.

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