Tatu group. Two elements.

Time of publication: 26.12.2006
Few years ago this duo was on the top of all the possible charts of the US, Europe, Japan and former USSR. Multi-platinum sold CD's, successful concerts, prestigious awards, millions of followers girls in red checkered skirts and than… Silence. After which, many people say, no one can reach this high ever again. But not the Tatu-girls! Now they matured from their school-uniforms, don't sing with playback by a principle, and refuse to have scandalous image. But still hold hands. Yulia Volkova and Lena Katina – two friends, with completely different characters and temperaments, two very different parts of one whole – Tatu.

Lena Katina, 22 years old

Cosmo: Lena, your father is a composer. He probably felt calm about you going to the show-business and having a scandalous image…
Lena: My dead refuses to accept the show-business out of a principle. My parents said: "Lena, why do you need this? It's terrible there, filthy!", but still took this trip with me. I said: "I want to!" In general, they always supported me, they helped me, and accepted everything, including the scandalous image.

C: Did they let you go so easily? You were only 14 years old!
Lena: We weren't even 14 years old. Yulka and I started to sing in the "Neposedy" ensemble when we were 11 years old. Previously I sang in other collective. So all this was a natural process. And my parents saw, how much I desired to sing, how I love that. It's very rare now to see a person who does what he likes. Mostly of people do whatever brings money. And it worked well for us: We have the opportunity to do what we like and still provide our families.

C: Friendship and show-business… Only few can keep both these things…
Lena: There's no problem for us. Many people start to work together while being friends, and than they lose control, go apart, and eventually become no one to each other. It's not like that for us, and that's great.

C: There were no critical situations that you were close to loose your friendship?
Lena: There were no critical situations. Of course, we argue sometimes, but that's absolutely normal. This is moments of the work. And our fights lasts five minuets. It's because we spend a lot of time together. Moscow is the only place where we can rest. And still we always keep on touch.

C: Do you know absolutely everything about each other?
Lena: We don't have secrets from each other. Yulia tells me everything, and I'm the same. Of course, both of us have best friends, but to who you'll go when you want to cry about not being at home for months? I can define, by her facial expression, what happened with her yesterday, what's her mood. And she's the same. I can be silent, and she'll hit the point totally, by asking: "Len, you have problems?". In general, we talk a lot, especially after concert. We're coming to out hotel room, saying: "That is, now sleep!", lie down to bad and chatting until 4-5 AM.

C: How did you react on the news that Yulia is pregnant?
Lena: Very good. I love kids endlessly. I want to have my own, but it's not the time yet. When Yulia was nervous about this, she thought "what about the career, maybe it's better to do an abortion"… I told her that she shouldn't. I willed to wait. Kids – this is saint! A baby – it's the best that a woman can have in this life.

C: During the concerts Yulia is trying to provoke you: strokes you breast…
Lena: It's not only on stage, we can stroke each other just like that in real life too. We like to kiss.

C: And that's normal?
Lena: Absolutely! It's friendship! There's no other meaning to these kisses. Yulia, for example, had serious relation ships with girls. I didn't… We share good human contact, that's why it's not a problem for us to kiss. We do it on stage from time to time, or in some party, which shocks our musicians. They call it "sister's kiss". It has nothing to do with lesbian love. Out relationship is very warm, friends, co-workers. We're family! There's no other word for that.

C: You have amazing musicians – young, good looking, energetic. How did you pick such an amazing group?
Lena: We went to the USA, and it is common there to work only with live performing musicians. And we had to perform on various shows with our own band. The record-label found Sven and Troy, keyboard-player and a guitarist, and a drummer that later left the group. The guys played with us for a while. Then we had a brake of two years. After this we went to Los Angeles again to record our second album. We called the guys, met with them and decided to take a bass-player too. Now Sven, Troy, Steve and Doman are un separated part of Tatu

C: And it sounds so different now!
Lena: There's more rock now. And besides, live sound is a live sound. It's not "Dance here, dance there" with playback. Musicians – it's a huge energy! We set one another on fire. I think that live sound it's a huge step up for every artist.

C: Are you refusing to sing with playback on pathos TV-shows?
Lena: Yes, we refused to do it on MTV Awards Russia. Why to get lower again? When you have the ability to do more, and more professionally, and you've been told: "No, only lip-sync", who need this?

C: Some people claim that your group will have hard time trying to get back to the level you were. Even if it was all "lip-syncing"…
Lena: The opposite is true, we've matured, became more professional. And the level? I put it that way: We have a level of quality. The music can change, but the professionalism, and what's more important, the themes of Tatu, the intonations will remain anyway. In our first album our music, our ideas were strong on clear, but far from banal: Not the usual: "You love me, but I don't love you", and the popish beats – that's not interesting. With our second album, our audience became wider in the quality level. But we've lost some of our fans. Why? Perhaps, because they were mainly interested in the story of two girls, and only then – in the music. Although, that's also not so obvious, because when a song is played on the radio, you can't see if someone's kissing there or not, right? And the song is still a hit… The album "Liudi Invalidy" was much more complicated, more deep – in music, and lyric. And its level isn't lower.

C: You have concurred the world when you were still kids. Which emotions were brought to you by the popularity and fame?
Lena: In some level I really proud of it. We achieved such success ourselves, thanks to our persistence and hard work. Many people think: What's so hard – to go up to stage and sing! But try it yourself first! The stage is taking great efforts. I don't even know how to describe the emotions of a person who received world wide embrace. It's very cool! And on the other hand – it's frightening. It's a responsibility…

C: You don't have the right to make mistakes?...
Lena: In the matter Yulia is more purposeful person, she goes straight ahead, and don't look back. And I'm thinking all the time: What if it's wrong? I have depressive states sometimes… I'm afraid from all new: What if we won't make it. In these moments Yulia saying: "Calm down. Everything will be ok!" She's 100% optimistic. She kicks me, and then I think that maybe it's really not that bad. Me and her – we're completely different persons. Perhaps, if you pull us together – all the good from each of us have – it would make the perfect human.

C: What did you do during the two years when the project was on delay?
Lena: I restored my place in socially-humanitarian institute where I studied in the psychology faculty. Now I'm finishing my studies, receiving my diploma. I've recorded demos for the second album. And, obviously, I've was occupied by my private life (laughing).

C: On your site in the diary section you've described how wonderful is it to live with beloved person…
Lena: In February, two years ago I broke up with my boyfriend, it's just happened. And then I met the man, with whom I live now. We're together over a year. We live in our own apartment. Before this we rented one. There was time when I lived in his place.

C: So, you're living together. You don't think of a home?
Lena: The house is being built, and we have enough space for now. Tolya is working, I'm on tours. We see each other at evenings, he always waits for me. He's patient, he loves me, waits for me, cooks for me and even cleaning up.

C: Is Anatoly works in show-business?
Lena: No. He's a lawyer.

C: The perfect family – a lawyer and a psychologist…
Lena: Wrong! A lawyer and a singer. I'll never be a psychologist. I think I just won't be able to leave the work and work and come home with easy heart. But you know, sometimes I think that it's not bad to have your own school, where kids can enjoy going to.

C: Do you have hobbies except music?
Lena: First of all, I love reading. Second, I and my classmates love to meet. They are my company, and we keep on touch until now, hanging out together. We can rent a house outside of town and go there to have fun or to meet at someone's apartment. We play in different games – monopoly, twister, checkers and chess. We making up some interesting stuff – we put make up and dress the guys as girls and go to walk around in the city with that look. We also have themes-evenings. For example, if someone have birthday, each of us have to act like some singer, or actor. All this - with costumes and make-up.

C: You're international starts. You probably wear expensive brands?
Lena: Here, look – jeans, top. What and where I saw it, I bought it. Clothes are more Yulia's thing. She adores fashionable clothes. I don't like going shopping, to be honest. I go only when I really need. For example, I opened my closet lately and realized that I have only four pairs of jeans and two of them good only for a train or an airplane. So I went and bought another three pairs.

C: Don't you've been told: "Girls, you have to keep your level!"?
Lena: I wear whatever I feel comfortable with. I don't follow fashion, or some crazy trademarks. Some time ago, everybody was dying from laughter. Mom bought my sister a shirt, for 300 rubles, I liked it and started to wear. I don't care, how expensive the cloth is – 1500 dollars, or 300 rubles. If it's good, why not?

C: What it is Love in Tatu style?
Lena: It's true love. Honest, with no lie, no flattery, no fakeness, without all these bad qualities. Love – it's the most beautiful emotion on earth! I think that It is very difficult to love. You've got to know how to do it. Because sometimes you think that you love, and you still hurt a very close person. The happiness is not about being loved, desired, worshiped, but in feeling all this yourself. To care, to show attention, to have the ability to accept the person as he is – this is love.

C: What's love and music have in common?
Lena: Music – is love. It's an expression of love. Many people write about their feelings. Romances, ballads – I'm talking about songs with meaning. That's why love – is music, and music is love. And besides, when you love – you want to sing. At least I do.

Yulia Volkova, 21 years old

Cosmo: Yulia, Lena's father is a composer, he's connected to music, and it's understandable why she was allowed to participate in your project. How did your parents agreed to that?
Yulia: Absolutely calmly. It's all started in my childhood. I was 5 years old, when I came to my mom and told her that I want to play the piano. My parents thought that I meant a toy-piano, but I said: "No, only big one!". We had a neighbor who graduated from a conservatory and gave piano lessons. I came to her, without knowing the notes, and made up melodies and played the piano with both hands. The neighbor told my mom: "You should send your girl to music school". That's all.

C: Such a good girl – playing the piano, singing in kids group…
Yulia: And besides that I've done about everything. My mom took me to gymnastics, ice-skating, and dances, and swimming, and tennis…

C: And after all these – scandalous image, provocative acts of Tatu! Your relatives didn't mind?
Yulia: My parents are young and understand everything. They are like friends to me.

C: And how did they react to your kisses with Lena on stage and in the videos?
Yulia: To be honest? They were happy. It's so cool! I'm very happy to have parents like them. My character isn't similar not to mom's and not to dad's. I always had the eager to go ahead, to be only at the first place, to do everything by myself.

C: You're a mother for a long time now. Are there some principles that you follow in raising Vika?
Yulia: The most important – not to stand on her way. When she'll get older, I'll do just like mom, I'll take Vikos to all kinds of activities. And I'll always support her decisions and choices.

C: Who's the father of your child?
Yulia: He's a sportsman. We lived together for three years. We broke up when I left to the USA. We had a bit different views on life. Now we're friends. In general, I don't have enemies. And I'm not getting offended easily myself.

C: Tell me, what changed in you since the birth of your child?
Yulia: I think I still the same. The people who close to me say that too. Maybe I've became a little more serious. Because now I have someone to live for. In matter of fact – motherhood it's an incomparable feeling. A daughter – my own continuation! And I'm so happy! Sometimes it sad, when you realize that because of the concerts, you almost don't see your baby… I gave birth, and three moths later I flew to America for eight months! Can you imagine, for all this time I haven't seen my daughter! When I was back home, she was a "grown-up" child already, she sat on her own, tried to walk, said "ma-ma"… I think when she'll get older I'll take her with me everywhere.

C: How did you go through that hard time of separation?
Yulia: To be honest, it was hard to realize that I'm a mother now. I was 19 at that time – it's the age when everything is just getting started: Life, career, you want to hang out, meet friends. But now I understand that it's great to be a mom! I adore my little daughter!

C: Who took care of Vika when you were in America?
Yulia: Three nannies, my mom and dad.

C: Many people say, that you've been "made" by Shapovalov…
Yulia: Someone making someone anyway. I can say that we've "made" Shapovalov.

C: Do you keep on touch with your ex-producer?
Yulia: In purpose no. But if we meet somewhere, we always talk. We're not enemies. We just broke up and remained in normal relations.

C: When you became recognizable, popular, wanted in many countries in the world, what feelings did you have – good fame, or you felt only its burden?
Yulia: It was a surprise for us. When we just started to sing, there were doubts – will we make it? But when all this started to spin, when we realized that our "hobby" is growing to an international project, we were insanely happy.

C: How do you define which song is a hit, and which not?
Yulia: You have to feel your audience, to understand what's missing for people. In our first album there was more pop-sound. We decided to make our second album, "Liudi Invalidy" more serious. Harder sound, we work only live. Now, there's more politics in Tatu, more desire to make people think about the world we live in, about what surrounds us.

C: Yes, your musicians are fabulous!
Yulia: We and them – we're one family. There's some collectives that doing their concert, and walk different ways, but we have very warm relationship. The guys can come to our room, or we to theirs. We watch movies together, hanging out, sing karaoke… First of all - they our friends. If there's no such relations in a creative collective – it's not a collective than.

C: Your voice gained a rattle…
Yulia: It appeared after the birth. It's just the way my voice changed. And except this, an age mutation occurred.

C: What is the meaning of your tattoos?
Yulia: On my back it's an Arabic word that means the most powerful emotion, passion, love. On my arm – a Japanese hieroglyph that means "dragon". It's wisdom, power, the desire to go on, not to give up.

C: Lena says that you're a fashion-lover. Which brands do you prefer?
Yulia: Yes, I love fashion, Interiors. But I'm not obsessed with brands and trademarks. If I like something – I buy it.

C: Do you have a lot of true friends?
Yulia: You can't have many of those. I have three close people, which I trust in everything, with whom I can share all kind of secrets, people who I can cry to. Serioja (Sergey) Lazarev is a very close person to me. He's my stepbrother and a friend too…

C: Are you dating Vlad Topalov?
Yulia: We've broke up…

C: But not so long ago you said that you're together and everything's good…
Yulia: For now we're broke up…

C: So this theme is closed?
Yulia: We can talk about it, why not? I'm discussing every theme calmly.

C: Vlad Topalov and Sergey Lazarev. The duo that broke up… Did you try to fix things up between them?
Yulia: Serioja is my friend, and Vlad – the beloved one. I don't try to do anything, not trying to make up between them. It's their private relationship. I think that they've lost a lot breaking the duo. If they would reunite now they would be number one. Serioja is my brother. He feels me, and can understand everything by my eyes. And Vladik and I lived together for almost a year… I think that it's hard for two strong and freedom-lovers people to be together.

C: These close people are part of the show-business. How do you communicate – Do you allow yourself to discuss, criticize each others creativity?
Yulia: we just support each other. The guys have great voices. And we're friends since childhood.

C: Still, why did you brake up with Vlad?
Yulia: Strong characters. The relationships of artists are very difficult. First of all, it's competition. Someone has to be better. Although we have nothing to share, it's still there. Plus, we both have freedom-lovers' characters, they're unbreakable. That's why he has his own way, and I have my own. But I love him very much, and he loves me too…

C: Are you a whimsical girl?
Yulia: No. And never was.

C: Is it possible to rule over you?
Yulia: No, impossible.

C: How can someone gain your sympathy?
Yulia: You have to stay real person. I don't like insincerity. When I see that someone starts to act, to make out something of himself. It pushes me away.

C: How do you imagine the further evaluation of Tatu?
Yulia: I see only today. I don't know what will be tomorrow. But we'll continue to go on. We'll fly to record our album in February.

C: Your last album was released in two versions – Russian and English. When you perform the same songs in different language, do you have different emotions?
Yulia: Yes, of course, because every language have its own special energy. It's easier to sing in Russian. I love to sing in English to too, although I don't really like this language. I didn't study it well at school – I was coloring my eyelashes during the lessons… The most important in knowing foreign language – is practice.

C: Tell me about your hobbies…
Yulia: Right now I don't have time for anything. I don't like to read. It's not interesting for me. I love to watch movies, going to theatres.

C: Are you provoking paparazzi in purpose? For example, by bathing topless?
Yulia: I just live. And the way I want to. I don't pay attention to the paparazzi's presence. You should never act. The way I'm on stage – that's how I am in life.

C: During the concert you sometimes remind about the former image of Tatu – Like stroking Lena's breast, or butt…
Yulia: Belive me, I'm not doing it on purpose. These are emotions. I like men and girls alike. I even dated a girl for almost a year. I was 16-17 years old back than. A love to girl, and to a man – it's different feelings. And I don't hide that I like both of them.

C: You travel a lot, you've met some world-wide stars. Did you make friends with some of them?
Yulia: We're communicating with Back Eyed Peas – we've met this band on one of the ceremonies. This summer they had a concert in Moscow. We've met, hanged out together. Fergie is a great girl, very energetic, on stage and life as well.

C: Yes, she moves incredibly on the stage. And you don't have that…
Yulia: Why not? It all depends on our mood. During the few last months Lena and I get very shaken with energy on stage. But we're humans. Sometimes we have not too energetic shows. I can't jump around when I don't want to. On our concerts the fun is about the live sound, music and lyrics. And if I'll start making somersaults, it'll distract the viewers from the message we want to send with our songs.

C: For what do you love Lena?
Yulia: Because she's exist. She's a sister, a friend, a mother, a girl, a woman – all in one. We're very different. We are filling each other. She lives the way she wants, and I live the way I want.

C: Can you refuse to perform if something in the organization of the concert doesn't satisfy you?
Yulia: No. What the fans have to do with that? We sing for them, first of all. My fans in every spot in the world mean a lot to me. They bring only positive emotions. They wait for us, they love us! Of course, sometimes there's a state when you get tired of everything. But a day or two goes by – and I miss the stage.

C: If your beloved person would tell you: "You have to choose, me or the stage"?…
Yulia: I don't choose. I don't like to make a choice. I just live real, full life. And I would never respond to impudence. I just close my eyes and walk away.

Cosmopolitan, Ukraine
Translated by Ev
January 2007
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