In case you haven’t heard of them yet–Alena Nalimova, Anya Vorfolomeyeva and Lera Stepanenko form the all-female Moscow band, Young Adults. While the group has a few original songs and is currently working on writing more material, one can assume from looking at and listening to their catalog of music videos that they particularly enjoy putting their own spin on popular Western songs as covers.
And by “putting their own spin on,” I mean performing covers interestingly with a Ukulele, Trombone, and sometimes other instruments. The band’s recent video of “Can’t Stop” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers went viral on social media and viewers seemed to be generally receptive to their style and performance.
They don’t only rely on Western songs, though! They also perform Soviet classics and Russian folk songs during live shows. Last year, the trio took the opportunity to perform in a contest on live Russian television–The Main Scene–a competition akin to The Voice.
Recently, both Alena and Anya spoke to Moskvaer about this particular experience, and some other fun questions.
MOSKVAER: Can you give us a brief overview of how you got started as a band, how you came up with the band name and what inspires you?
ALENA: In short, every band’s history is always the same – you try to play music together and eventually find out that you really really enjoy it. It’s as simple as that. It began with Lera and I, then Anya joined us. When you play together for a while, you eventually face the fact that your band should be given a name. When the name Young Adults came up, we realized that it suits us, and we also like how it is written and pronounced.
You have a very unusual combination of instruments in your band. Have you ever planned to add any other instrument? Or maybe you are planning now, what will it be then?
ALENA: Maybe we will add a new instrument, but let it be a surprise.
Have you ever gone through periods as musicians where you slept on the floor? Tell us about them. What other struggles have you faced and overcame?
ALENA: Just like many other musicians, we struggle sometimes, especially since the economical situation in Russia is as unstable as it is.
ANYA: No, but rather we have gone through periods where we didn’t sleep at all. I mean because of repetition, shows and trips. But I’m not complaining, I don’t mind it.
How did you like taking part in “The Main Scene” TV show? What judge did you like the best and why? the least?
ALENA: Participation in a big contest such as MS always serves as a self-examination. Russian TV shows have severe rules and plenty of boundaries. It disappoints me. After all, it’s all about music. Music is supposed to make people free, not the opposite. Among the judges the one who did not like us was Valery Leontiev, he decided that we suck at singing. The one who liked us the most was Nikolay Noskov – luckily it’s mutual.
ANYA: It was strange but I’m glad that we did it. But I’m not sure we will take a part in any other TV shows anymore. I like Nikolay Noskov and Alexandr Rozenbaum, they both write cool songs and have very memorable voices. And fortunately both of them said that we were good in the show and they would like to hear us again. It was important for me.
What’s your ultimate direction for your band? Are you seeking fame and fortune?
ALENA: To become more famous than Pentatonix. Joking.
ANYA: I am seeking adventure, fun and an exploration of emotions. And I’m finding it all with our shows and with our audience. So I thank them for that!
Do you get any inspiration for new songs or songs to cover while in the shower? Elaborate!
ALENA: I sometimes elaborate vocal arrangements in the shower.
ANYA: Sorry, but no.
Do you dream in color or black & white? And, how do your dreams influence your music?
ALENA: In no way do they influence my music. All my (colored) dreams are about me being in front of people totally naked or failing some important exam, or getting disgraced by some other thing… Such things don’t inspire anyone.
ANYA: Always in color.
Do you drink? Liquor or beer? Why or why not?
ALENA: I don’t drink alcohol because it’s not a fun thing for me to do.
ANYA: Well, I do. I choose beer but usually I prefer strong drinks. Because I like the taste and effect.
If you could sit at a table and hear two people speak, alive or dead, who would they be and why would you choose them?
ALENA: That’s a tricky one. I would definitely like to hear Stephen Fry speak on any subject. Let the second person be Ella Fitzgerald. I’m sure she would get on with anybody. She seems so gentle and wise when you listen to her, it’s like she can calm everyone around her.
ANYA: I would like to hear a chat between John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Like it was in the good times. Or maybe Vladimir Mayakovsky and Lilya Brik. It is interesting to watch a couple of friends or lovers at their best moments–seeing this fire between them.
What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands?
ANYA: Work harder. Practice everyday. Or add a trombone-girl to the band.
Any last words?
ANYA: Have a nice spring!
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