Interview w/ mysterious trio that played at 1818
In August, BURSA welcomed Ha*HaBiBi to play set at 1818 rooftop bar. Who is Ha*HaBiBi? Natasha Ganelina — former art director of the Nina Donis brand, ex-editor-in-chief of Afisha, ex-art director of Strelka and ex-party organizer at Solyanka club. Anya Ayrapetova is a former soloist of the synth-pop group “Ne tvoe delo” and ex-editor of Wonderzine magazine. And, of course, Misha Politkovsky — DJ, sound affairs master and Gosha Rubchinsky’s model. We asked the trio about their impression of Kyiv, what’s in their playlist and what Ha*HaBiBi is.
How was your set at BURSA?
It’s just the bombiest. We didn't expect it, but from the very beginning of the set it became clear that we were on a wave with guests. Therefore, when the party was over, we were saddened by no less than people. We will definitely continue next time!
What are your impressions of Kyiv?
Do you follow our cultural life?
We follow what David and Misha do at 20ft Radio, we were happy to meet them personally and to play with them when they came to Moscow and did a weekly showcase in the “Richter” space. We also follow what Borys Stepanenko, Slava Lepsheev and Noizar are doing, Natasha has been familiar with since working in "Strelka".
And, of course, we are impressed by the Ukrainian pop scene and Ukrainian video production, we believe that there is a separate production island in Ukraine where only women with third or fourth breast size live, sink liners, land Boeing with dancing people on the wings, all in glitter and pink haze.
So why Ha*HaBiBi?
Natasha: Last September, I walked around Paris through the Arab Quarter early in the morning, listening to a Kabyle chanson, immersed in the thoughts of the strange twists and turns of my fate, its mystical jokes and the great and heavy love that tormented me. Then I saw the tent with sweets “Habibi”, which in Arabic means "my beloved", "sweetheart", and thought that everything that has happened to me over the last year is a complete Ha-Ha-Bi-Bi.
Where is this love for the East from?
Natasha: I was born in multicultural Baku — the blood of Armenians from Tehran, Cuban Cossacks, Polish and Russian Jews, Russians and Belarusians flows in me. I spent my childhood in Tajikistan, my father was the correspondent of the region, in the late 80's he highlighted events in Pamir and Afghanistan. Our neighbors were the star of the Tajik football team CSKA Pamir and an Indian dancer, I wanted to be like her. Every night, she took me to an open-air movie theater to watch Indian cinema, terribly popular in Dushanbe in the late '80s. I spent summers either with my grandmothers in Baku or in the Varzob Gorge at the cottage of the second secretary of the Komsomol of Tajikistan, or at the house of the correspondent of Kyrgyzstan in Issyk-Kul. My best friends were two Jewish brothers, Avner and Jan, who emigrated to Israel in the 1990s and then to Canada. It would probably be strange if the East wasn’t the foundation of my world and the main source of love.
How did you three understand that you want to play together?
Natasha: In general, HaHaBiBi is an Indian movie about kids separated in childhood, each with their own super power, who have found each other in adulthood to withstand the dark forces.
I know Anya from her two and a half years, our parents worked together and were friends, and I perceived Anya as a younger sister. Then our paths diverged, and when Anya started singing in the band "Ne Tvoe Delo" and I got to their first big gig in "Strelka", I realized that I wanted to shoot a video for them. We haven’t shot the video, the band is gone, but with Anya we’re thick as thieves again.
And I met Misha three years ago, outwardly, he reminded me of my younger sister, who lives abroad. I first invited him to be my assistant in the music video and then to play together at an Indian party I was doing on the Deep Fried Friends veranda. We are no longer invited to play at the veranda because we were having too much fun, but now we are playing together.
Why are you doing this?
Because we feel good, easy and fun together. When we play it's like an exorcism session — all the bad stuff goes away, it's just the three of us, haha and music.
How do you decide whose turn it is to play?
Natasha loves low bpm and usually they start with Misha, and Anya is fast and her music output starts after 110 bpm.
What has been playing in your headphones lately?
Natasha: On the way from Odessa to Kyiv, I listened to Pablo's Eye's latest album, it helped me to sleep, and when I wanted to cheer myself up, I listened to Sonic Youth.
Anya: I am in a total depression recently so I am trying to control this condition with the help of Elliot Smith's discography, and when I try to cheer myself up, I listen to rap. It’s Lil Noid's album "Paranoid Funk" lately.
Misha: After the parties I stopped listening to music in the player.
What are your ideal looks for the set?
There should be a minimum of clothes on Anya and Natasha, and the more the better on Misha. He needs a Ukrainian wife to feed him at last.
Where do you dream to play so much that you would be willing to pay for it?
At Snoop Dogg’s wedding.