Interview: Misha Seidini / Lingua

06.01.2012

Such bad luck. I wanted to talk to Lingua to introduce their original music to rock fans in Poland and all of a sudden we bumped into an unfortunate coincidence. The reply to our interview request came after a few months only to be accompanied with a statement on….the band’s decision to call it quits. As we read in their release, in the face of Misha’s decision to leave the band, the whole group decided to finish their activity as Lingua. It was Misha who contacted us for the interview with RockOko which was suppose to be his last for the band, so we could not pass on such opportunity. There came a December Sunday, we sat by our devices and here is what came out from our long conversation:

RockOko: Hi Misha, thanx for talking to us.

Misha: No problem, you are welcome.

RockOko: I wanted to start this interview with question what is the smell of life, that could have been with Lingua [reference to band’s debut album title “The smell of life that could have been”], but I guess after reading your statement it comes to mind that it is the life, that could not be there any more. You’re saying in your message that you decided to quit the band, because “music stopped giving”, so I wanted to ask whether it stopped giving on the creativity level or in general music stopped being the activity you would like to do in life. Which one is it?

Misha: I think it’s both. To take it from the start, I didn’t actually realize that I wasn’t very much into music any more. It started growing on me and it took over a year. The process of doing our last album “All My Rivals Are Imaginary Ghosts” took us about a year. We wanted to take the time we needed in order to make an album we would be satisfied with. Because it took us so much time to make the record, we weren’t writing any new material. Once we finished the record we were suppose to start writing, doing creative stuff again, but at that time I think I realized that we sort of stagnated. We started working on some songs for our punk alter ego Rövfitta, but all of those songs had been already written, so we weren’t doing anything new there either. We also thought of doing something with Come Sleep [3rd band involving Lingua members]. We were thinking of releasing our old 5 song EP with a couple of new tunes, but still, those tunes were written before “All My Rivals Are Imaginary Ghosts”, so actually it’s been about 2 years since either of us written anything new for any of our bands. We played some gigs, we rehearsed, but that was the time when I started thinking that maybe I don’t want to do that any more. I started being bored with rehearsals. I remember this day, two months before we split. We were in rehearsal room, I was playing my guitar and thinking, that if we finish early maybe I could go home take my running shoes and go jogging. That seemed like more fun to me.

RockOko: So did you start feeling that all rehearsals started turning into a sort of obligation?

Misha: No, I didn’t feel obligation. I never felt that. I just felt I could be doing more fun things with my time. The best thing about Lingua was that we never put pressure on each other. So I didn’t feel pressure from myself or anyone else to go to rehearsal, but I just wasn’t’ t feeling anything when I played.

RockOko: How did the rest of the band take your decision?

Misha: Of course they were bumped. We’ve played together for 10 years. We’ve been really good friends. They were bumped, but at the same time also very understanding.

RockOko: Did they also feel like you, that you have stagnated as a band?

Misha: Thomas [vocals] did feel like me a couple of times. He was thinking about leaving, but eventually he just didn’t. Patrik, our drummer, well he doesn’t really have anywhere to go, so to speak. He’s happy playing his drums. When I announced I’d be leaving he said to me something like “I can understand you, because you’re always driven to have things happening around you. You can’t just have a band and have nothing happening around it, but I’m quite happy to be here banging the shit out of my drum kit.” He’s quite right about that. They’re quite happy just to play together and I was too. I probably would have stayed there if I didn’t feel it music wasn’t giving any more.

RockOko: It’s been a couple of months since your decision, although you’ve publicized it only now in December. Maybe it’s still a short time to think of it or do any sort of retrospection, but what comes to your mind when you think of the whole adventure called Lingua, that happened in your life? For example, you said music was a therapy. What did it actually heal or release in you as a person?

Misha: I’ve had great run with Lingua. We’ve been best friends. We’ve had tons of fun, we’ve had tons of shit as well. As for the therapeutic part I’d definitely say it’s been healing. It’s been healing up to the point, where I don’t need the therapy any more. I was one of those bleeding artists, you know. The one who puts his soul to the music. Every note I hit had to be 100% of my soul. I know it sounds corny, but you probably know what I mean. As I became older, I’m 32 now, all these other things started happening to me and I’ve became, hm, how do you say? I think I’ve became quite happy (smiles). I have a daughter, she’s 5. She is the most wonderful person in the world. I have family, so to continue to play this quite sad and emotional music it just didn’t fit to my life. I don’t feel that way for music any more. I don’t want to bleed myself dry any more. I just want to be a happy person. I think in today’s society, with all those things around you can be angry about, that’s a tricky one. It’s easy to just lash off aggression, but to actually cope with the world, that’s harder.

RockOko: How about music in general. I understand you lost the feeling for this kind of music and emotions. I guess it is hard to write dark stuff when you feel simply good. So is it like when there are no demons to be channelled and released through music, the music itself is not really of interest to you any more?

Misha: I am still listening to music. I love music. I still listen to aggressive music. I still enjoy my share of the Tools and Deftones. But when I pick up guitar now; it’s different. I’ve always made fun of happy music, saying it wasn’t really heartfelt etc. But now when I play my guitar at home or when I try to learn something, now I play that kind of songs. It’s not embarrassing for me, it’s just fun. The songs I recently tried to play were like Van Halen’s “Panama” or Rolling Stones’ “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking”. It’s not metal and it’s not unhappy. It’s totally opposite of everything I have been doing so far. And I’m not writing here, I’m just playing songs, because it’s fun. So I guess this is where I am now. Playing songs because it is simply fun.

I’ve put music on a pedestal all my life. I’ve been treating it or at least thinking about it as of my madonna, but at the same time I’ve been treating it like a whore. I know these are harsh words. Music is recorded by artists. They give to the music. But in the opposite direction, when I listen to a song, I listen to it as long as I like it and then I throw it away. You can’t do that for example with people. I’m glad you don’t do that with people, so that’s what I mean by saying that I have treated it as a whore. But we need music in exactly that way. Music is supposed to do exactly what we want to do with it. I’ve been putting music on pedestal all the time, but I don’t do it any more. I realized that I don’t care if people like my music, so why other artists should care if I like theirs or not.

RockOko: But I think it’s a thin line. Of course the basic foundation for involvement in music is to play music that you would love to hear, but then there is the whole response and audience thing into it as well, isn’t it? Actually that might be an interesting thing to ask you. Do bands exist without the audience?

Misha: Absolutely they do. Just look at Lingua. We have been together for 10 years. 10 years of doing it and we have about 400 likes on Facebook. That says pretty much how close to nothing we were as a group. By saying this I’m absolutely not ranting down on those few fans, that we’ve had. I love each and one of them. Yet anyone can say, that 400 likes over 10 years of playing is pretty close to being a non-existent band. But we were happy. We were doing what we loved. We would have never compromised for that.

RockOko: So you did it all basically from fun, friendship and passion, which draws another thing, that defines the type of existence in music industry. Let me put it straight, you weren’t financially depended on the band, were you?

Misha: No no. We were putting much more money into the band, than taking anything from it (laughs).

RockOko: Right and I think the fact that you didn’t have the financial element in your band’s activity gave you independence and freedom. When you’re in a band and you throw everything in there trying to actually “make it”, become successful or at least be able to live off it, then it might change the attitude or at least way of how you operate as a band, because you know that without gigs or activity you are basically dead.

Misha: Of course. It has to be a challenge, but a good challenge. Sometimes in the interviews or after shows people were telling us how cool we were, because we’re so “DIY” [Do It Yourself]. But we were always like: “Thanx, but you know, we are like that not by choice”. I would give anything to work with a producer once. Someone, who would have outsider opinion about my song writing and who would give me other ideas. Not all producers take only commercial direction and focus only on making more money off the band or an album. Some producers actually have good ears, which help make songs better. Who wouldn’t want to do that? But then again, everything can be done in a good or bad way. If money becomes such a big issue, then yes, you can become something like say Nickelback or similar bands. Well they weren’t that alternative to begin with, but look at them now. They’re making this arena rock and there is a big business going on there. Of course I can’t speak for them or any one else, but to me it seems it isn’t about music any more.

RockOko: As for the existence of the bands out there, have you ever thought what actually decides, that some bands do get recognized and others don’t. What is the reason? Is about the promotion or the deals they sign or maybe didn’t sign, the contacts, luck. A bit of everything maybe?

Misha: Definitely a bit of everything.

RockOko: Do you feel that could have done more with Lingua in terms of pushing the existence of your band into the broader audience?

Misha: Oh yes, we could have done so much more had we been actually at it. We were an old school band in the sheer essence. We always believed that there would come a management or something to help us with that part, but at the same time we never wanted to take any compromises. It was as if we put a giant neon sign over us saying: “We will not cooperate!” (laughs). So who would want to work with a band like that? But I love Lingua. I’m proud of what Lingua was, but it is the attitude that we had and I can totally understand why people weren’t really that keen on working with us.

 
 
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