Could you start by telling me about the intentions
behind a project such as Caprice and how did the idea of realizing
this came up??
In 1996, we decided to record "Mirror" - our first album. We needed
some classical instruments to "colour" the pallette of the album.
But the real Caprice
began in 1998, when the ten of us gathered
together to play a series of "Music of the elves" concerts.
It seems that this was mostly a solo-project that grew into a
more serious thing, right?
It would be more correct to say that it was a Progressive Rock project
(voice, keyboards, bass and drums) that grew into an academic-sounding
one - harp, strings, woodwinds, voice, no bass guitar, no drums.
We saw such change of sound as the only means of growing as musicians
and making more exquisite music.
Where does this fascination with the fantasy world that you bring
to life in your music come from?
I do not know, just like I can't say where any music comes from.
But we have read a lot of descriptions of real faerie music in several
books which (among other faerie-related things) talk about the experiences
of people who somehow managed to get into the parallel world (where
faeries dwell) and hear their music. Our music is an attempt to
show what the music written by elves, not by humans, sounds like.
How do you 'translate' this into your every day life? Do you
find some sort of parallel between the fantasy/fairy world and our
a lot. I would say that some people's faces look very much like
faerie faces (such faces have attracted me since very young childhood)
and some people (mostly from artistic circles) behave in 'faerie
ways' - meaning that one moment they are fascinated by you and the
next moment they forget you. They are very emotional and passionate,
and devoted to beauty. Such qualities definitely belong more to
other worlds other than our own.
When I am in the forest I always try to feel the presence of this
parallel faerie world, but the chances of actually seeing faeries
and especially getting in touch with them are minute. It is almost
impossible for us (and maybe for them, too) to move onto a parallel
level. It's as if you were in a building with adjacent rooms but
without doors; it's impossible to move through walls, although what's
in the next room lies very near.
How do you feel about other artists that find inspiration in
Tolkien's work, by the way? Which do you find interesting? There
are various (Black) Metal bands that have picked up on his writings,
for instance, but I think you went for a rather unique approach,
I have never heard anyone's music related to Tolkien, except Pavel
Fomitchev, a Russian composer who lives in Chicago and whom I met
through the Internet. His music is very beautiful, and very much
Do you find inspiration in any of the above mentioned artists?
What would you consider to be the influences for the musical side
What really inspired me in writing faeirie music was literature
and art, but never other music. In literature, Tolkien's works,
and especially his poems, and as far as art is concerned, "Faeries",
by the British artists Brian Froud and Alan Lee, was of an immense
inspiration. Also, our song "Merrymaking of the Forest Elves" is
a "photograph in music" of a wonderful illustration to "The Elves
and the Shoemaker", by Peter Stevenson.
What did you have in mind when you were composing the material
for Caprice? I mean, when you were putting the words to music, what
sort of feelings and expressions were you most interested in capturing?
Maybe the poetry used in Caprice
's songs carries 'photographs'
of the faerie/elven world, both of past and present. I just tried
to transfer these images into music. Whenever I write a song, I
need the words first. The actual meaning of the words is not even
important to me, but the phonetic aura that some words have. The
flowing of poetry is very inspiring, but only if it is really talented
poetry, which means it is both beautiful phonetically and carries
a vivid image. Bad poetry results in bad music, or no music.
The composition for the most part is very close to Classical
music, and many times it seems to be a perfect soundtrack for a
ballet piece too. What do you think?
Well, it can be related to classical music only because 'classical'
instruments are used a lot. About the ballet - many people say my
music is very suitable for dancing. In fact, only three days ago
at a concert some people jumped from their seats and started dancing
to our music, although almost all the time signatures are 5/4 and
7/4, time signatures which are almost never used in dancing.
Could you tell me about the musical education of the various
people involved in Caprice and their background, by the way?
They all have higher musical education, and now most of them play
in very good orchestras, like Gennady Rozhdestvensky's orchestra,
the Bolshoi Theatre orchestra and so on. I am very happy to give
my music to such talented and professional people.
is this about your non-human singer, by the way? Who is Ostlupusmmeon
and what is his role in Caprice?
We cannot talk about him much. Ostlupusmmeon's voice was recorded
not in the studio, but somewhere else, and then added into our music.
This is one of the proofs of the faerie world for us. We can only
say that he has a human form, but he is not a human himself.
Most of the lyrics are taken off Tolkien's work, which is quite
perfect for what you have in mind, I suppose. On the other hand,
have you ever considered the chance of using some of your own writings?
"Mirror" has my own lyrics (in Russian). The idea of "Mirror" is
human life; from birth to death (or to put it more precisely, the
inner side of our lives), and what happens after death. It is very
sincere, very personal, but unfortunately not very high quality
poetry. This is why I refused to use more lyrics of mine in the
Do you think that the fact that there will be a movie covering
The Lord of the Rings in a few months has brought some extra bit
of attention to Caprice as well?
We have not felt any extra attention. But if somebody turns to our
music because of this film, we will be happy, of course.
You've also used some material by William Blake, isn't that so?
How does this relate to the concept of Caprice?
Very much. On the one hand, Blake clearly felt other worlds's presence
and a lot of his poetry is about his visionary experiences. Faerie
world is also described in his poetry, in all its diversity. On
the other hand, it's just first class poetry, and it is simply a
great pleasure to write music to such lyrics - deep, philosophical
and full of inspiration.
You have been picked up by Iris, which is with no doubt one of
the most interesting labels for this genre of music. How did this
By chance. Our song appeared on the Russian Gothic Compilation,
which was distributed all around the world, and the label contacted
How are things working with Iris so far, by the way? Are you
pleased with the efforts put into "Elvenmusic Part I", and with
the artwork on the album, for instance?
We are immensely happy to work with them. It is very important that
not only our music tastes coincide a lot, but, even more important,
we are quite similar as people. We both are enchanted by faerie
worlds, too. As far as artwork is concerned, Adelaide, the label
artist, is very gifted and very professional - what else do you
need for high quality design? We have plans for the future, too,
and we are very happy to feel their support.
The recordings were done for a rather long period, from what
I could see. How did this process took place and how was it like
to see it all come to life?
We worked very carefully. For example, "Lullaby", one of the shortest
tracks on the album, which has the least number of instruments,
was recorded after many hours and many wasted days. Generally, the
recording of this album was a mixture of extreme pleasure and extreme
I just heard about the plans to re-issue your previous demos
via Iris. When can this be expected and what will this consist of?
Does this mean that all of Caprice's material will be available
to the general public?
At the moment we are working on some additional material for "Songs
of Innocence and Experience", an album based on William Blake's
poetry. It was recorded in December 1999, but released only on CD-Rs.
Iris (Prikosnovenie) is releasing "Songs..." at the beginning of
2002. As far as our first album "Mirror" is concerned, it was released
on cassettes in 1998, and at the moment we are not planning to re-release
There will also be "Elvenmusic Part II". Is there something that
you can tell us about this already?
Oh yes. This is something for us to look forward to. The album will
be called "The Evening of Iluvatar's Children" because it will tell
about the last days of Elves, Men, Dwarves, Ents and Hobbits described
in JRR Tolkien' s "The Lord of the Rings". This is the second part
of the Elven trilogy. As soon as "Songs..." are released, we will
start recording this big 16-song cycle.
know that you've done some live performances with Caprice in Moscow
and you've also been to Poland recently. Could you tell me a bit
about these events?
We perform in Moscow quite regularly and enjoy it. Caprice
is not a studio project - we have so many musicians because we like
richness and beauty of live acoustic sound. In Poland we performed
at Tolk Folk festival in Bielawa - an annual international event,
which we really enjoyed. The atmosphere of the festival left us
exhilarated for weeks. We look forward to more tours!
You've also appeared on Russian TV a few times. How was this?
How does the media react to Caprice in Russia, by the way?
There are several programmes on the Russian TV where a band plays
live and then answer the host's questions. We took part in two of
those, in 2000 and 2001. For the first performance, we were very
nervous - for me it remains as nothing but a grey blur of anxiety.
The second one was much easier, we were less nervous and enjoyed
it immensely. The media reaction to Caprice
is usually quite
Do you feel that the fact that you come from Russia has made
things harder for you in some way?
I don't think so (but if we did not live in Moscow, things would
be much harder. The Russian capital and Russian province are very
different). The only thing which is really difficult for us is touring.
The distance between Moscow and Poland - the closest European country
to Russia - is almost the same as between Portugal and Poland!.
Thank you immensely for your time, and congratulations on your
fine work with Caprice. Do you have some final words for the readers?
We are very pleased that our music is played in Portugal. I have
a friend who plays in the Lisbon symphony, so we know that Portugal
has very fine musicians, and it's a great pleasure for Caprice
to find some response in Portugal. I hope it will be possible for
to play a concert in your beautiful country.
interview by João Monteiro