Hi Marianna, how you’re doing? First, thanks for your availability. Would you mind
introducing the band to Portuguese rockers/metalheads?
Hi! No, of course not! I would be pleased to introduce my art to the new countries and new people.
Vesssna is an exciting new project started in 2016 by you and Marina Scherba. Can
you tell us how it became real and what aim did you have in mind when you
Vessna is my nickname. The idea to create a project named after myself started in 2012, when I realized that my old band Fright Night wouldn’t last long. But I didn’t have enough money and energy to record the music — I was getting my second degree and didn’t work much. So the only thing left was to write sad songs in my spare time. I have known Marina for a long time, we had been playing together in two projects. And she supported me in my creative work. By the time we started the project we already had a lot of studio experience, so there was no problem with that. At first I was worried that it would be difficult to find session musicians to perform, but that was solved pretty quickly.
What names or movements would you quote as your main influences?
It’s hard for me to tell about the movements. And it’s much easier to answer about the names. Our classic writer Fyodor Dostoevsky, then Ritchie Blackmore, Kurt Cobain, Garbage vocalist Shirley Manson, Diorama vocalist/composer Torben Wendt.
An EP and an album were released in 2017/2018. How were the reactions back
The EP was greeted quite warmly by fans of different «rock with female vocals» and also by my longtime fans, because it was a comeback after a big break. And as for the album — there was a lot of debate about a couple of our folk songs, especially «When You Mention Me, You’ll Cry» and the music clip for it. Some people said that it Vesssna was a good goth-metal band and it became some kind of folk. Some of my friends, on the contrary, said “that’s it, that’s your thing, you have to go completely into that style”. I was just composing music that was close to me at a certain moment… I don’t even know what genre my songs belong to, but if there are people who like to analyze it, that’s fine. There’s a lot of contradictory comments about our music, beginning with «the singer sings like Tarja!» to «there’s no voice at all», and also «they play some kind of wacky progressive metal» to «the music is pretty primitive». There were a lot of comments where people were seriously arguing whether I was singing academically or pop. Anyway, sometimes it’s funny to read that.
And now, this year, you reissued the album Just Like Saintlike. What were you
trying to reach with this?
Mostly, of course, we re-released it for those of our fans who tortured us with the question «why aren’t there any CDs»…? Well, and for the mailing list as promos. I didn’t do enough to promote these releases when they first came out, and I regret about it. I didn’t think anyone abroad would be interested in our music. But as it turned out, that’s not the case: even though we sing in Russian, I started to get regular feedback from abroad.
But the pack also includes your fist EP as a bonus. Why did you take that option?
I wanted to give our fans a more dear and memorable gift. Now they have all our creative work on one CD. The EP means a lot to me personally, and it is important that these songs are not forgotten.
In comparison with the first printings, did you promoted any change in these
As for the EP, it wasn’t released on physical media at all. At first we released the album on collector’s flash cards in addition to the digital version. And there was a different cover, a darker one, with a blonde girl among the arrows. I think that cover was more reflective of the mood of the album. But when we decided to combine the two releases together, we tried to choose something more colorful, and I ended up doing a photo shoot in the costume that I appeared in the «Just Like Saintlike» music video.
The visual aspect is especially important to you, isn’t it? And you are the main
responsible for that, right? How do you work on this aspect?
Yes, the visual part of the art is very important to me. And for most people too, I think. Nowadays it’s not enough to be a professional music player to be noticed. People want to be interested in watching you all the time. The image has to impress a lot and evoke emotion. You have to give people something that you can’t get anywhere else. As for my photo shoots, I create the image based on my own taste. However, it’s more complicated when we speak about our music videos. My director Nastya and I scrupulously think over all the details of every character’s costumes, we think about what should be there, so that it would fit the general idea of the video, the represented era. And when our ideas are approved, I start looking for and selecting things for the costumes. Nastya finds something herself too, but she deals more with props. And this is the same story: every single thing must be in its place for some reason and make sense, or be a hint, a reference to this or that work of art. Sometimes it is the other way around – one’s own image appears in the mind in this or that costume, and the whole further plot of the video is built on it. I love handmade things, and a lot of objects and decorations for our videos were made by someone from the handmade world. Sometimes I see some cheap jewelry from AliExpress in the videos of even quite famous European bands, and it seems very strange to me.
Just Like Saintlike was already released in 2018. Are you preparing a new album?
Yes, I’m trying to spend as much time as possible on the recording of the new album. I’m at the vocal recording stage now. All the instruments are recorded. Hopefully by the end of the summer or fall it will be ready. So far we have released the first single from the upcoming album, the song is called «Erase».
Will you continue to use only your native language in the future? Why did you take
For now, the answer is yes, I plan to sing in Russian, because I think my voice sounds more powerful and deep in it. Besides, I’m the author of all the lyrics, and a lot of it would get cut in translation. In Russia it’s very difficult for people to perceive bands that sing in English… Mostly they are perceived rather negatively. Nevertheless, it is OK to listen to Poles, Germans, Finns singing in English, but it is impermissible to listen to your fellow countrymen singing in English. People here are very picky about the words, everyone wants to understand at once what the song is about. So Russian-speaking singers have a much better chance of being heard and performing somewhere. Russians are also really picky about the English accent, so it’s a very energy-consuming and thankless task for a Russian band to sing in English. You might gain more fans abroad, but you get more haters here. And if you think about it, there are artists who basically sound cool and authentic only in their own language… Milen Farmer in English, for example, is kind of weird and out of place.
Are you still in Fright Night? And what about Mea Vita?
Fright Night ceased to exist in 2014 after its second album release. One could say that what I’m doing now is some kind of logical continuation. After all, the style is about the same, only without the male vocals. Mea Vita now exists as a studio project and under another name – “Eternity of Nonexistence”. There Marina is the author of all music and lyrics, and also the vocalist. And I just play guitar.
Thanks Marianna, once again, it was an honor to do this interview. Would you like
to leave any message to your fans?
Thank you for your attention and time! Thank you for looking for something new and among all the variety of existing artists and different genres you paid attention to us — it’s very nice!