Yevgeny Khavtan and Robert Lenz, Bravo: “Not Russian rock, but Russian twist!”
The group “Bravo” celebrated its 35th anniversary and releases an album of rare songs. We talk with band vocalist Robert Lentz and permanent leader of the band, guitarist, songwriter and vocalist Yevgeny Khavtan about the secrets of creative longevity, how to write a hit and about what modern rap sounds like in the 50s rock and roll.
– The obvious question: how does such a solid anniversary feel?
Lenz: The number of years is just a figure, but in reality this date itself is no different from another. True, any concert should be cool, and the anniversary – even more cool. And so – it was 34, now 35. Yes, a respectable age. It’s nice that the group exists so much. I myself have been singing in her for 23 years (laughs). Havtan: When we made up the anniversary program, it turned out that two and a half hours of some hits. A lot, had to sacrifice. Made a potpourri of several songs.
“How do you write a hit? Lenz: I have no idea.” I still more or less understand how to write music, because I do it myself, but how words come to poets is a mystery. I myself wrote the text “When dreams come true” in the subway. Then I just started working at Bravo, we had a base at Tekstilshchiki, and I was driving home to Oktyabrskoe Pole. And this text just came to me completely, I only polished it at home. Such insights happen to me quite rarely, unfortunately. In general, this is a question for the author of hits.
Havtan: I do not know. I do not know how to write hits on a regular basis. Every six months to issue a hit – it is impossible! Moreover, I am often mistaken in thinking that this song will be a hit, and the “shoots” is completely different, which I considered to be just a good album track. Still friends-colleagues perceive songs in different ways.
– What were the songs like that? Havtan: There are lots of examples. “Road to the clouds.” Our director said: “I’m not going to promote it, it’s not a hit, what is it all about — after the Orange Tie and Moskovsky Bit?” The song “It’s Dawn Outside the Window” was not considered a single or hit, but Our sound engineer said: “Guys, you can bet on any song of the album, promote anything, but the people will be chopped under this one” (smiles). We were very surprised: well, yes, a good song, a combat one … but it turned out exactly as he said.
“And which songs went unnoticed? Havtan: I like some unknown songs much more than hits.” For example, “Rain and Palm” from the album “At the Crossroads of Spring”. And “On the Planet Gamma” from the album “Hits about Love” (1998), which failed wherever possible. Although fans are now talking and writing on the forums that they love him.
– And you are just preparing the album “Unrealized” (pun: “unrealized” and “unconscious”) of rare and non-album songs … Havtan: Yes, there will just be a new version of “On the Planet Gamma”. Eight minutes – I decided to not give a damn about this notorious “three and a half minute” format, and make the song the way I want. It is clear that nowhere on the radio she will not sound. There are also other people’s songs performed by us – the songs of “Zoo” and “Time Machine”, which we recorded for dedication albums to these groups. Our “Boogie-hitchhiking” is overwritten here. There is also the song of the group “Ariel”, our “Forever” in the acoustic version, “Sand Castle” in the style of reggae.
“How often do you allow yourself to remember old forgotten songs? Lenz: Concert programs are constantly changing. Some song bang – and leaves, in its place comes the one that corresponds to today on sensations. We played “Car” – this song was only released on a single. “I feel sad and easy” has not been played for many years, now it’s in the program.
“Why is Bravo such a tenacious group? Lenz: This is Zhenya’s group.” He is the only one who has always played in her. Without him she would not have been. He knows. Havtan: Any real group is defined by three components: past, present and present. And yes, a little bit more of the future, in perspective. Any real group, she, sorry for the expression, will devour a ton of garbage until their hundred people in the club gather. A group without a past whose career began with a photo shoot is a one-day, production project.
– Robert, at the end of the 90s your “assignment” after Valery Syutkin was quite loud. How do you like in the Bravo group? Lenz: Great! In different ways, in fact – the first years were not easy, because I got from the underground right into a famous team.
—And why did Bravo have such a long lull in zero? Lenz: Yes, there was no lull, they played like they played. Just records are not released. There were very few songs written then, really. But we did not disagree, did not take academic leave. And in 2010 there was a rise: they began to prepare the album and, importantly, they rehearsed already in a permanent place, and recorded there. That helped.
– Does this mean Evgeny Khavtan’s home studio? Lentz: Yes. It was comfortable there, it was cool to record an album, nobody drove anywhere – we recorded it where we rehearsed. Better than someone else’s studio, where you have to adapt, where the meter ticks, but it’s not about the money.