THE LAST INTERVIEW TO GUNITSCKIY
Yuri Morozov “I let out the devils that have been tormenting me for the whole my life.”
On February 23 Yuri Morozov died. For all of his life Yuri had worked a lot as a sound director.
Except of this activity he was known for his songs and a great number of albums. He was a unique musician, a prose writer and a poet. We’d like to present you an interview with Yuri. It was already edited in one of the magazines “Rockmusic.Ru.”
-Yuri , I begin from simple and specific question. I can’t avoid of asking it. How many albums have you recorded for all your life? I remember 50. But it was a long time ago. How many do you have now? Are there 70 of them?
Morozov: No, there aren’t. There are more than 60. I am even tired of counting them. One time it is one number, another time it is one or two more. I have many experimental albums. Some-times I count them. So I have got about 64 or 65 albums. But it isn’t important. The more im-portant is them to be packed into CD formats. And such, for example, CD disks…
-Have they been released?
Morozov: No, they haven’t. There are 5or 6 released. But in total I have got 45 albums. It is nec-essary to add a new disk “The naked feeling of absence”. It will have been released soon.
-So how many of them have really been released? Do you mean vinyl or CD?
Morozov: There were 7 or 8 on vinyl. As for CD I can count them…Just a moment. He is count-ing using his fingers. One, two, three, four, five, six. There are 6 or 7, 8. I can’t even remember…There are some. I am not interested in releasing so much. I have spread them among my friends. So I do the same now. Everything disappears. I make them up for collectors. I do it for those who are interested in it. I don’t bother about the released albums. I understand about the disability to earn money. But as for the fame…What fame may it be after the past events in our country?
I let out the devils that have been tormenting me for the whole my life. I am very glad I do it. It is my credo.
-When did you begin to let the devils out?
Morozov: It was very early. The devils really tormented me. It was since I was 18. The first al-bum “ Retro- scope” appeared in 1967. The periods of 67th, 68-1st, and 69th were the most pro-ductive period of creative power. Everything has begun since that time.
-You didn’t live in Saint-Petersburg yet, did you?
Morozov: Yes, I did. I lived in Ordjonikidze. I began to live in Saint-Petersburg since 70s.
-When you moved from Ordjonokidze to Saint-Petersburg, where did you record your albums?
Morozov: For the first two years I was doing it at home. It was in such way. I usually brought together two tape-recorders, though sometimes I took the third one too. And I used different combinations. Well, the technique I have described in my book “The underground Blues”. Later I have created two- channeled tape-recorder. It was up to 1972. After that I applied to work in a gramophone recording studio. At that time “Melody” was very primitive. There were not multi channels recording. There were only stereo tape-recorders. In 1976 the first multi-channels tape-recorder appeared. Here I stole computer film and recorded the first songs using multi-channel system. Of course, it was hidden from everybody.
-It was in your free time.
Morozov: It was in my free from work nights.
- Have you recorded your albums alone? Or were there any musicians who helped you have done it?
Morozov: I always collaborated with different musicians beginning since early age. But I was always worried with such idea that I could create like God using multi-channel system. So I sometimes I locked and recorded everything myself. I could not play the keyboard so I was try-ing to do my best. During the recording process I was able to play it. In some time I was tired of playing for four men or eight men. So I invited some musicians with pleasure.
-Whom have you invited?
Morozov: For example, the first good music appeared in 1978 in the country Suida. But they are not of a good quality. That time I invited the drummer Yura Nikolaev. He was a drummer in “ Aquarium”. There were many other people from other bands. I often played with Nail Kadyrov. There were other well-known musicians. Different people came. I played with Mikhail Kudriavtscev (the bass guitar). The trumpeters came too. The keyboarders arrived too. So we could have made up two albums.
-You as a sound director had to work with a great deal of famous musicians and bands. What impressions have you got after such collaborations?
Morozov: I was interested in collaboration. Sometimes it was an arrangement. As a sound direc-tor I know about some special combinations of timbres. I know when it is impossible to do more than three guitars bringing together. But it is better to use one guitar. And everything in such manner it may be …So people tried to bring together rather huge things I told them they were not right. I tried to explain them the reason. When people were not really able to follow my piece of advice, for example, the band “DDT”, there were some gigantic ideas. Andrew Muratov is a genius keyboarder .He is rather well-built, strong man with his ideas. But nobody wanted to lis-ten to him. So did I. But it was possible to work because all of the boys were, rock-n-roll was, this music was. It is close to me. I have worked with “Aquarium” too. They had almost never been against. That’s why we managed to record something. Then Boris approved it. They even agreed to follow my piece of advice. But Boris came the following day and refused to accept all, so the fight again began for the same song. I have lost my temper to advise something. Because I understood it was difficult to prove something to a man without exact idea but who was trying to achieve his perfection only.
Then there were jazz men. They were rather nice. But there were about three weeks ago I fin-ished the work with a guitar duet. These were ex-musicians from “ Pesniary”. One of him was Tkachenko, another one I forgot his surname. But they are really mature musicians. They are the guitarist of the top class. They played “The Beatles”. It was Beatle’s program in instrumental playing. It was very pleasant to work with them. Because any of my piece of advice they got like a treasure. Though they are very intelligent an literate. One of them has spent in Neshville for some years. He has taught to play the American guitar. He plays excellent at any style. It is pleasant to work with such kind of people. Such people trust me and my experience.
The duet “ Gaivoronskiy-Volkov” I have recorded. It was long time ago. I remember the process of work was pleasant. They could hear me and we’ve got rather good result at the end. Then it was “Chij&Co” where …Chij began to follow my advice after the releasing of the first album. When we began to record another album even the team appeared. The atmosphere was every-body should know their place. As the result we got an awful album because the musicians had brought it together. Only after this album they understood and said me, “Yuri, do everything yourself. We’d better smoke and drink beer.” Since that time very literate work began. It was especially with Sergey. He could have listened to me than he said,’ Stop speaking stuff.” But in some minutes he does what I said him. I can’t emphasize any of my sound works. Because I am usually unsatisfied with my work. Because to create really good quality of the recording it is necessary to listen to any western work. They have a sound there, everything is there too. We have not got the same. Our people want to pay only 500-600$ and to get something it may be listened to. It is difficult to speak here about the quality. The only band “DDT” usually fought for the quality. “ Aquarium” may be called too. It does it especially now. But I usually was put into the limits to create quickly and for small money. I should have transformed something bad into the best work. So it couldn’t be possible to get sometimes. The question of quality is the question of money. But it is impossible to record for 600$, 800$ or even 1000$ an album it is possible to be proud of. It may happen but by chance.
-But the sums you are speaking about they are not for such work.
Morozov: But people do it for such amount of money. It even happens in “ Melody” …For ex-ample, we have recorded the last common album where Chernetsckiy sings with Chij. Chij sings Chernetsckiy’s songs. It is not bad, rather good, I would say. They again followed my piece of advice. The idea was not to make it rather difficult. As the result we have two songs with vibra-phone. The instrument is hold as in Chernetsckiy so in Chij. It isn’t a kind of instrument to creat the heavy for perception effect. The album was not expensive. Chernetsckiy paid 1100$ and Chij paid 700$. So the total sum was not less 2000$.
-One time you have worked as a concert sound director with Chij, haven’t you?
Morozov: I began from “DDT”. It was a long time ago. Also I remember to have got a trip to Kamchatka and the Far East. It was in 1988. Lyapin, DDT and me did it.I played in Vladik, but I hadn’t done it in Kamchatka. I was at the remote panel with “DDT.” In 90s they invited me amd I had worked with them for the whole year. Then there were the programs “ A black dog Saint Petersburg”, “ That’s all”, rather big concert at “ Petrovskiy” stadium. I ran …
I began to work with Chij too. They were rather good boys. The band was without any prefer-ences of the celebrities. I liked it. And they paid more money than “DDT”. So I was working with Chij for more than 4 years. I ran also “Okna, Otkroy!” and other projects.
-You don’t give your own concerts, do you?
Morozov: Yes, I do. The last concerts were acoustic shows. I understood as a concert man I was liked by somebody. I can’t speak about a big audience. It was only at the beginning of 90s.There were enormous amount of people at my concerts but this period was in past. I can’t see any idea to begin it again.
-Have you ever been in the West? Have you seen the Western audience and the situation in gen-eral? Was it the same as with the rock in our country? There was time when everybody believed if rock had become firmly established everything would have changed. The years passed. The rock has gained a foothold. But it is obvious Russia isn’t predisposed to rock-n-roll if we com-pare with the western countries. It is like alien culture.
Morozov: You are absolutely right. At it seemed to be the channels between our countries. There was an exchange. People come to us. Great and amateur musicians come to them. But we have not got any common denominator. We have our own rock-n-roll and they have their own one. As for me I can see this common denominator for whole world. I may respect the western kind of rock. But there are some countries which are not in this list. Russia is there too.
-Russian mentality couldn’t have been joined the rock rhythm, could it?
Morozov: It couldn’t have been joined. It has discharged. That is, at first it was a break the “Beatles”, “the dipperplahs”, “tscepellinahs”. We had come to this but then we went away of it.
It was harsh movement. We went towards the things I did not like. I can tell the reason. It was because of scanty musical plot. I bothered about it a lot. It impressed us in the “ Beatles”. We even did not understand the words. Their words were …
-They were simple.
Morozov: They were uncomplicated. The music had fascinated us. Music is a magic and God’s
Element. I can’t see this element in our music. It may appear in some places sometimes. So we have not got common language with the West. We may understand the West, because they speak the universal language. So we may understand them but our language they don’t understand.
-So rock music hasn’t become a national culture, has it?
Morozov: Yes, it has. We don’t have any claims in such music. And if you think over about the cultural muck of Americans in 20s, 30s, there were the epochs of jazz and blues. It was rather qualified. But we had got jazz than it was banned. Then popular song appeared but it had never demanded good instrumental skills. So such people as Maclaflin could not appear at all.
-They have not appeared.
Morozov: You are right. In general, nobody is worried about music what happens with it. We have some verbal mentality. People got use to the words more than to music in our country. We have a contradiction here. The music is on the first place in rock-n-roll. The words are on the se-cond one. “The Beatles” proved it. They have subdued the world without words using music on-ly.
-But the verbal in rock has become the dominant in Russia.
Morozov: We have more words in our rock
-I can’t avoid mentioning you compose the poems, not only the texts for the songs…
Morozov: Yes, I write. But I want to tell something. I can’t say they have meaningless texts. Let’s take Bob Dilan. There are a lot of others. But at first it is music. Though the Bible says, “The word was at first”. But from the side of the song the music was at first. And it is the truth for me.
If there is no music any word you may sing or quote them, they can’t save the situation. You may quote Shopengauer, the Silver Age, the Gold Age, the Diamond one it won’t work if the music is absent. It seems to me as we have fallen out of common culture. And it is difficult to say where we are. It is a usual way to tell us it is our own special way. It is Slavonic. We are people whom God has chosen before. We are different but no matter we have a lot in common.
We rejected as genetics so energetic, or cybernetic. But we have come to them and we respect them. In our case we also will come to common denominator. We stop torment people with the words and return to music.
-What is your attitude to our experienced bands which you have recorded more than one time? What is your attitude to the achievements of the bands which are many years on the stage?
Morozov: They filled the musical niche when the music did not exist in our country. They did it rather successfully. They filled people’s minds and souls. It was taking place their own Russian way. But when a lot of music appeared as our native so foreign and everybody began to ex-change the discs. Everything is possible to fin in the Internet. All of these grandees have lost its importance. And they overfill the world of music. Some of them are successful sometimes but others seem to be nothing. In spite of being overfilled there are fans of “Aquarium”, “DDT”. It doesn’t matter what happens with their singers. They continue to love them. But new generations are hardly capable to understand Shevchuk, for example. I think he can’t tell them anything be-cause he doesn’t know their language. As for me I think they have the right for existence. It is the same like my right to make up my albums. So they may do the same too. They may have success but it may overfill of this vessel.
-But there is not any change of real leaders in our country. There are many bands, but there are no real leaders.
Morozov: It is. They are leaders again because of the reasons them to have become the leaders. It is the fact. You can’t argue about it. I really can’t see new talents, rather gifted ones. By the way, it is possible to see in the West. For instance, Clapton or Makkartni are.
-I can’t see the alternative to Clapton or Makkartni…
Morozov: It is true. This time was given such giants.
-It must be our mature perception, mustn’t it?
Morozov: No, you are not right.
-We are interested in the things we have been brought up. May it be the truth we haven’t got the successors?
Morozov: No, I try to be impartial here. Clapton is an excellent guitarist. There are many young whom I watching by. I have many of his DVD. I look at Chij. He copies everything to be brought from New-York. People may get the same level but they can’t exceed themselves. That is the question. It was the time of the destruction of all of the traditions. As for 60s they are the great years for me. It’s so happened I found them out more in 90s or 2000. I hadn’t got any in-formation before I have just found about those marvelous years. They had impressed the minds, the state of minds that the great people were born. Now we haven’t got such staggering or changes of foundations. More I don’t speak about positive or negative.
Morozov: Yes, it was. The changes were revolutionary. People were getting crazy. And it gave birth to something new, something great. These great things have come up to our days. What we are having now it can’t give us something new. It may give a birth of something equal but it can’t be new one. The musicians of 60-70s were Gods. They really were them. The beatlomania hasn’t been appeared any more. It is hardly. That’s why it was emphasized it was an epoch of the knights, the Silver Age, literature, cocaine, the Internet, what more? I listen to young bands such as "Franz Ferdinand". I am able to hear the repetition of the songs of “Trogs” or “ Kings”. They have not any new note. They have only a new technology of recording and sounding. Everything has been created before them and they use it now. So you come to their concert with a hope to hear something extraordinary? And sometimes it is possible to hear. The cool people are more promising because they have got the links with schools. Although it happens very seldom. I have visited Nopfler and I have not been astonished with anything.
- I bursted into crying at Clapton …
Morozov: It sent a cold shiver down my spine. It was because I thought the man couldn’t play so perfect during the concert. I listen to each note it is a gramophone recording, you see. It makes my hair stand on end. Well, it is a trumpet…
-Well, I managed to catch it, feel it. It is fantastic feeling when such great people come.
Morozov: Yes, of course.
-It isn’t a lot too.
Morozov: Of course. You go out with new energy and think…
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-And you understand, that …
Both (at the same time): It wasn’t in vain!
George Gunitsckiy, "Rockmusic.Ru"