St. Petersburg In Your Pocket talks to Edmund Shklyarsky, leader of the legendary rock band Piknik. This spring Piknik is coming to the Northern capital with their new show.
- Your art is steeped in mystery. Is this something that stems from your childhood or did St. Petersburg have this influence on you?
- Both my childhood and the city had an influence. In the yard in front of the building where we lived there were small black sphinxes and abandoned mines - the things we imagined there! - and a coal hill. You could go up the coal hill to get onto the roof of a small building and, of course, get all filthy because of the coal. Our house had many books with illustrations by different artists. You could find all sorts of characters and creatures in them!
- In interviews you have repeatedly said that your songs are uplifting. How do you manage to write such positive music in such a brutal city?
I personally don't see anything brutal in this city. I think it's much harder to live in places where following the polar day (which lasts 6 months) you get the equally long polar night [and barely any day light at all]. Plus, playing the guitar is not a very difficult activity, but rather a fun one...
- It's said that Russian rock and the "Leningrad rock club" in particular must be a form of protest. You don't agree with this, do you?
- I think that one of the key motivations for art is some sort of inner discomfort or a disagreement with the status quo. If you so wish you can call that a form of protest.
- Piknik always prepares live shows very thoroughly: they entail hints at Gogol and imperial balls, elements of Shemyakin's carnivals or even the theater. Why do you pay such great attention to visuals?
- If it was simply an artistic meeting between us and our fans, then maybe a microphone, amplifier and instruments would suffice. But we call what we do a SHOW and so we must live up to the true meaning of that word.
- What can we expect from your next show? Will you invent new instruments, for example?
- Spring concerts in St. Petersburg's Ledovy Dvorets and in Adrenaline Hall (Moscow) are on the horizon and they will be titled "The Shining", so we'll make not only our music shine but the entire hall! We're not planning any new instruments, we'll use the ones that have already been invented.