Oleh Kadanov is a musician and poet, member and creator of different bands – Orchestra Che (it has a creative reprieve now), Mantry Keruaka (Kerouac’s Mantras) and Liniya Mannerheima (the Mannerheim Line) (together with Serhii Zhadan and Yevhen Turchinov). He has his solo projects as well as collaborates with other artists. He has recently published his book – Not Me But Another One. He lives and works in Kharkiv.
He is a person who is always on the move. It has been so with his bands and with other things, but the crucial thing is that he never betrays himself. He is a straight-forward person, he destroys and loses something, but gaining those little things which are important and essential, which don’t kill but make him stronger. Today, he has his solo concerts, prepares some material with his bands – the Mannerheim Line and Kerouac’s Mantras. He has also just published the book Not Me But Another One. The book reflects the recent two years of his life. We spoke with Oleh Kadanov about music, civic stance and silence.
How do you do, Oleh! What is happening in your life now? What is being destroyed and built?
Hello. Everything which could be destroyed is already destroyed. There are no destruction processes now. Vice versa, I am up to new projects and collaborations. It is the moment when you can’t go on in the old way already, but you can’t do it in a new way yet. It is a very interesting period of time.
You have recently published the art book Not Me But Another One. What questions did it answer, what did it conceal?
This book doesn’t answer any questions. This book rather puts some new questions. Answering these questions is up to a listener, viewer, a person who watches and records those things which an artist offers to concentrate on. Art feels current hot buttons, and like a photographer, develops them and makes them open for community, provoking a discussion. It is quite abstractly. If speaking about this book, it is like a reflection of two recent years of my life. It is about processes which took place. Of course, not without absurdity and entropy.
Are constant trips and concerts kind of a philosophy of soul searching?
Well, I can’t imagine that an artist doesn’t travel, and people from other towns and cities come to his concerts as to Mecca. It can’t be another way. But I like it because it is very boring for me to sit still.
Is it easy to arrange your concert, what is needed for that?
You need to contact me.
A new EP of the Mannerheim Line, your project with Zhadan and Turchinov, is to be released soon. Please, tell about it.
This EP will be very different from the first release. It doesn’t have poems to music. It is a step to hip-hop. Well, again, we can’t say it is one certain genre, but cruel social texts of Zhadan make you do something in gangsta style, of course with a bit of punk. By the way, we have just shot a music video for a song from this EP.
What is your another project Kerouac’s Mantras about?
Our drummer Vitia Kondratov lives in Kyiv, and we live in Kharkiv that’s why everything is happening very slowly, too slowly. However, we are very close to our first release. We are going to shoot a music video for a song Bezodnia (Abyss).
You took part in concerts on Maidan in support of political prisoners. What do such concerts give?
I want these concerts to help people remember what is happening in the country. Remember that there’s a f***ing war in Ukraine, that our soldiers die every day, that Russian prisons keep many militaries as well as political prisoners. But taking into account the number of people who attend such concerts and that terrible Ukrainian stance “I don’t give a f**k”, it becomes clear that the only way something can be changed it is if we get lit up.
Who is Oleh Sentsov personally for you?
I take the liberty to omit this question. I don’t know Sentsov personally, and I can’t make any suggestions, but I am concerned about this constant attention to Oleh. We have seen something similar already. And we have no information on what is happening there for real. We have only some rumours and suggestions. I wish Oleh and many other imprisoned returned home as soonest!
What does hatred mean to you? Do you often feel it to anyone or anything?
Hatred, as well as love, is part and parcel of life. As Jung once said, when it’s time to be angry, be angry. Actually, a modern conception of positive thinking is invalid because attempts to strangle anger and hatred lead to disagreeable consequences. When you want to pee, but you can’t – your bladder can burst.
What do you not worry about after you turned forty? What does age mean to you?
After I turned forty, I don’t worry anymore about what life is like after forty. In other words, there is life on Mars!:) And it is beautiful. After forty, you begin appreciating your time more as well as the time of others.
Is future unknown for you or is it just a made up regularity?
Both! We shape our future by ourselves, but very often, we are not brave enough, we don’t have enough stamina.
What are you silent about, what is hidden in your silence?
What is the point in my silence if I break it?
Interview by Oleksandr Proletarskiy
Photo by Oleksandr Proletarskiy