Rostyslav Shtyn’: «If a person doesn’t have a choice, he takes the first thing offered»

Ростислав ШтиньNot everyday there’s a possibility to chat with such a person as Rostyslav Shtyn’ – present producer of Tel’niuk sisters, patriarchy and creator of Ukrainian show-business, a person who brought up to the public such bands, as «Mertvyi Piven» and «Skriabin». I had an honor to listen to a record of a new sister’s song – «Tatku miy ridnyi (My dear daddy)». This song differs from what sisters used to sing before. It’s not a traditional, close to a national singing anymore, now it’s more of a meditation. In general, it’s hard to verbalize. Even Rostyslav Shtyn’ himself couldn’t give a definition for a new style of sisters, he called it «a new form». Actually, we were talking about this and some other interesting things.


How long you cooperate with Tel’niuk sisters? Why they decided to change their style?

We cooperate since October. In the project I have a function of a producer. And what is going on with sisters is not changes, it’s just a new form. Their style shouldn’t be changed, it’s formed already. It’s more important to reach more people and an age group as well. Sisters have a deep world of feelings, presentiments, thoughts and a lot of their own, individual, personal. And when we agreed to cooperate I’ve seen that beauty and depth they have. The question is in realization. World changes, but feelings remain the same. Love, hatred, suffering. The question is in the form of presentation. It should be clear, we should find people with common interests, because art is a rocket that should get launched into the world and not waiting for ages.


When you’re changing sister’s style, who’s your pattern?

There are no patterns. There’s time. Personally I think if someone has patterns, it becomes secondary. People should do what they feel and the way they feel it. And look for the circle of people, who feel the same. Then it’s possible to make something that many people will like. That’s why there are no patterns.


For example? What similar legends could you name?

The main legend is that music should be easily understood, that real music should be perceived quickly. There’re lots of legends, lots of orientations.

We’re not heading for someone, we’re heading towards feelings. Of course, there are certain tendencies, so we don’t pretend to make any openings. New technologies, new sounds emerge…, but the most important that is to remain yourself. Sisters have it. They remain themselves, it doesn’t matter what age it is now – 21st, 25th or 18th century. These are emotions you try to express.


You say that you’re oriented on a wider auditorium, but your winter tour of sisters took place only in cities of Western Ukraine. Why?

It’s impossible to be in all cities at the same time(laughs)… step by step. After sisters’ coming back on Ukrainian market they had to take a look on what’s going on, a look at Ukrainian music, audience. It’s also a kind of a small test. First of all they did it for themselves – they played, they sang. This tour didn’t have commercial goals, or global goals, like «showing up and blowing off the roof». It was a regular simple tour just to determine what stage the project is on. Even from a practical point of view. That’s why Kharkiv, Poltava, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk are waiting for sisters.


New album edition is 100.000 CDs. One half of this edition you’re going to sell in Ukraine and another half in Europe. How are you going to arrange a promotion in Europe?

There are certain technologies for this.. This subject is for a long conversation. Every company has its own principals and technologies. In this sphere Ukraine has an open loop, there are no labels that will work with the closed circle «production – promotion – distribution». And, actually, the agency I represent and which works with «sisters» is trying to shut down this system. From production to distribution – everything will belong to us. Geographically it’s irrelevant, we’ll work on the market of show-business.


Whom else you sponsor?

No one so far. We have a few projects, for example, we’ll make a movie. We’re working on organization of two academic festivals. It’s Youth Festival in May and Kyiv-Fest in September: our part here is management and distribution. We have projects, but it’s our personal theme. Mostly we’ll head for an experimental music, which ha s a deeper meaning. It won’t be pop-music, though I like quality pop, pop that was made interesting. Quality music in any format is interesting.


What pop music on Ukrainian stage you personally like to listen to?

Well, I don’t want the word «pop music» to get a negative meaning here.

There’s lots of good music in Ukraine. Recently I listened to a not bad music – «Faktychno sami», there’s also «Tratak», «Tanok»…Also I’ve heard that band «Komu vnyz» was nominated for a Shevchenko award…I think, it is a new way of understanding, new perception of rock-music.

There are also bands that nobody knows about, yet they make good music, but do not have an access to music channels – this is another problem. But there’s enough good music for the industry to function at 100%, to bring profit, create some ideology…Because culture for masses, in my opinion is as important as a rocket production. Any music, any art should touch a person’s heart, a person should dream.

Now we have to create an industry that will have all the colors, all the formats – from experimental to more simple. But the question of quality remains. Even music for a discotheque can be done with quality and elegance – for a better dancing and better beer drinking. I’m not talking about world wrapped in plastic, I’m talking about world of emotions, and not manipulations. Actually, there’re lots of producers in Ukraine, who deal exactly with manipulations. This is what we started our conversation from – patterns. Well, they take ready steps, patterns of western studios, things get created, they become popular and fall to people’s hearts very quickly. Nowadays we don’t have time to get things straight.

Ростислав ШтиньLet’s talk about access to media channels. Tel’niuk sisters made their new video «Vechirnyk», but it wasn’t shown on TV yet, even on M1, which is considered to be a first Ukrainian music channel. You can find the video only in internet. Why?

M1 said it wasn’t their format. In fact there’s a policy – someone set the standards. They care about their rating, they think that our music doesn’t meet their requirements of style. Of course it’s a manipulation of conceptions. In any case everything’s supported by tastes and aesthetics. It’s not a secret that there’re a lot of streams in show-business, when people hide behind the idea of rating. In fact there are two lines. On one hand, while forming the taste of masses, we shouldn’t level it down to the primitive forms. On the other hand, when we say «good – not good» and someone on M1 says «I don’t like it, it was made wrong, it won’t raise our rating», this is a personal opinion of a producer of the channel – it is a conflict of tastes.

In terms of music our video was made traditionally, but it’s nice – good play, modern, it’s not archaic, it’s got Gothic, nobleness, beauty, harmony of sound, it’s got everything in it. And when a channel says it’s «not their format» then I have a question «What is their format? What you propagandize? What are your goals? Where are you going?»

They say they are a privately owned channel and have to earn for living. But the function of the channel is not only to earn money…I think it’s a problem of Ukrainian theme and not Ukrainian theme. I think that everything connected to Ukrainian music has ten times more obstacles, then what;s connected to first of all Russian music with more simple forms.

When speaking about availability, about super-duper modern things, for instance, ex- «ViaGra» – it’s just a bad taste. Of course, someone likes it, and I can’t dictate anything. Unfortunately there’s kind of decadence, that there’s no future, because any music should be based on quality – quality of texts, performance, on images and feelings.

I’m not against eroticism, not against good feelings, but I’m against brutal and primitive things.


But sisters are not even on radio. They are known just because of exchange of records…How to find the way out?

There’s no need to find the way out of this situation. We’re talking about the segment. I’m surprised when in Ukraine people are talking that there’s a Ukrainian speaking channel. All the radio stations should be Ukrainian and play good music from the whole world. This topic comes to an absurd discussion in Ukraine. If today 30 million people percept Ukrainian language material, they must have their TV channels, radios, everything of their own – it’s their right.


In European countries there’s a quote for foreign film production and music. What do you think about this?

Of course I’m all for it. It’s a protection of the industry and working places, taxes that will go for a development of social programs, non profit projects. Nowadays, as far as I know, by means of show-business they take out to Russia approximately half a billion dollars from Ukraine, because Ukraine doesn’t have a system that would protect the market. Market should be protected, but open at the same time. Ukraine doesn’t get quality music from West now. It’s bad, because it disorients people. Russia has the same problem – the low-quality music keeps afloat. It’s a hard struggle. It’s easier in the West – besides big labels, there’re small ones, who can popularize different kinds of music. Unfortunately here everything is monopolized. It’s connected to the politics, to people, who have a possibility to coordinate streams of movies and music – they make it the way they like, in according to their opinion, their taste. There’s no transparency in this problem. And if a person doesn’t have a choice, he takes the first thing offered. From this side I think that Tel’niuk sisters’ project is interesting, because it’s independent. It deserves respect and creates a willingness to cooperate. They always had their position – there are not that many people like them. And today’s changes were made not technologically, but with a heart. We’re looking for ways to express the world through possible means.


Art is art, but everybody wants to earn money…In European show-business artists earn money selling their CDs, in Ukraine it’s impossible because of the pirates. Artist should travel with the concerts all the time. Are sisters Tel’niuk afraid of pirates?

It’s not just a matter of pirates. In fact the pirates are all around the world, the only difference is the size. It’s a serious problem that big labels are fighting with. And in Ukraine there’s no single company that would do the projects of musician from the very beginning to the very end. There’s no shop network where you can buy a Ukrainian or any other production…that’s why we have anarchy. Today every company is looking for its own way of struggling. Personally we’re going to produce the whole system for our product. We have technologies, management, knowledge for this.  

Ростислав ШтиньSpeaking about Europe – I can’t help asking about «Eurovision». When Ruslana won everybody was talking that the reason of her victory was that closed circle you were talking about – album, promo-tour in Europe…She promoted herself and won as a result. What gave this victory to Ukraine?

I don’t want to diminish Ruslana’s and her producer Oleksandr Ksenofontov’s talent… but for me personally it’s clear that «Eurovision» in a sphere of professional show-business is not that important. But countries with certain complexes are looking for a chance to compensate those complexes with the help of such competitions. Significant here are sales of CDs, world tours, MTV award. And «Eurovision» is like a local sport competition after Olympic games. It’s a contest for housewives. I have nothing against housewives, but the judging system is very average.

At that moment Ukraine was just trying to promote itself. Ukrainian musicians need to try to show up in the world. For example «Haidamaky» began to appear in hit-parades of the world and it’s of bigger importance, than participation in «Eurovision».


– You remembered Olexandr Ksenofontov, a person you worked together with…In times of «Rostyslav-show» you also worked with «Skriabin», «Mertvyi Piven», Bilozir…What are your relations now?

Normal relations – there are no relations at all. Everyone chose his own way. At that time, in 90-s, «Rostyslav-show» gave a start to «Skriabin» and «Mertvyi Piven», and to Ira Bilyk by the way… but it was that time, now it’s a different time.

I’m glad they were first, who gave an impulse to a system, I’m not exaggerating their meaning. Each of them had his own way, his own understanding.

On daily basis – we greet each other…I wasn’t here for 20 years, we didn’t keep in touch that much.


Did you keep an eye on their career, their works? Do you like what they are doing now?

I think everybody has to do what he likes. There’s no reason to criticize or to sing the praises. Each of them chose his own way. They are all successful today and I’m glad for them.


Why did you come from Germany and was it hard for you to get used to Ukraine after living in Germany?

As a matter of fact after Germany I moved to Canada. Everyone should be in motion- the world is open. But nowadays Ukraine needs us, and we need her. It’s an eternal love you can’t escape from, no matter how painful this love is. Now it’s a time in Ukraine when everyone should give her a maximum of his experience, to give her all that she gave us. Maybe it sounds too lofty, but it’s true. Everything else – time will show.

I would like to bring something new here. Though there’re many people, who do and will be doing this. We are not alone in this, that’s why we have to support each other, to create a small world, it should be nice.


Translated by: Julia Klymenko