Arsen Bayanov: “In my plans there is an intention to shoot a thriller based on my stories…”
A well-known Kazakhstani journalist, writer, musician and director Arsen Bayanov talks about his love for Ukrainian bands, his documentary about the history of the music of his beloved city of Almaty and how the monument to The Beatles was erected.
1. Arsen, are you more of a musician or a journalist at heart?
Probably a musician after all. Journalism is a little different. I look at journalism from a musical point of view. I have written several books and this is more related to journalism. But these two directions go in parallel with me.
2. You are an experienced musician, how can you assess the state of contemporary music in the CIS?
To be honest, I’m still a fan of English-language, American music. But, if sometimes I manage to listen to high-quality domestic music, then I do it with joy. I really like the Ukrainian groups “Okean Elzy”, “VV” by Oleg Skrypka, “Boombox”. This is quality music and, unfortunately, it is not enough. If we watch TV, then everything is bought and overbought and few people can break through. Therefore, we do not see young people, but they are developing. And we, in Kazakhstan, do the same.
3. I know that you are currently filming a documentary about the history of pop music in Almaty. How long did you go to this?
Five years ago, we filmed several episodes and then no one knew how to film it all. The director filmed based on my music history book, but in the end our opinions differed because we weren’t looking in the same direction. I had to start directing the filming process myself, like a real director. I began to understand all this, and this time we are already filming 10 episodes about the history of modern music by order of the Mir television company. I called this film “Alma-Ata – the city of jazz, the city of blues, the city of rock and roll.” I never imagined that I would ever shoot. But enough experience and knowledge has already been accumulated for this. The shooting process is insanely exciting for me, it is completely different from journalism and writing books. When a journalist writes, he depends only on himself. And filmmaking is a team effort.
4. Arsen, you were engaged in music, published books, now you are making a movie… Do you already have thoughts about what next niche you will occupy?
For me, it’s basically the same thing, only the forms are different. So far, my plans are to shoot a thriller based on my stories. I want to do something different, new and not be like anyone else.
5. I read some of your articles, you have a rather interesting style of writing – free and free. How do you want to stand out?
No, I’m not doing this on purpose. It goes without saying that this is how it is written. I have been working in journalism for many years and have developed my own style. I started at the Horizon newspaper headed by Moscow editor Vyacheslav Stolyarov. We were all young and he showed us how to write, taught, advised. Perhaps, thanks to such a teacher, I began to write in the manner in which I write to this day.
6. You are a rather risky person, with a very open manner of expressing thoughts. Did journalism give you this or is it already a way of life?
It just seems like I’m open. In fact, I’m quite a private person. I do not write everything I think about, first I think about everything.
7. The new go has just begun… What plans and goals do you set for yourself?
It is necessary to complete the film so that the audience can see it in the near future. This film is in Russian, now we are translating it into Kazakh. I plan to publish another book. But, due to the difficult economic situation, it becomes more difficult. The book will be double sided. On the one hand it will be called “John Lennon and I”, and on the other – “The Sand City of Kunkala”. It will contain stories and stuff.
8. In Almaty, on the Kok-Tebe mountain, a monument to The Beatles was erected. I know that you have the most direct relation to this.
One day George Harrison’s ex-wife Patty Boyd came to visit. My journalist friend met her and she asked why the monument was here. And the answer was this: this monument is not exactly the Beatles, but the time of our youth and the Beatles were its expression. I wrote an article about this in Argumenty i Fakty as a joke. But later it became the impetus for the installation of the monument. In 2005, when there was a presentation of my book “Alma-ata informal”, my idea was supported by respected people. And after that the monument appeared in Almaty.
9. Do you have your own credo for life? What can you wish to people who are less confident in their abilities and do not know how to set foot on the path of creativity?
You just have to do it and that’s it. I also did not know how to make a film, write an article. But I really wanted to and did-did. If this is inside you, then you need to work and the result will not keep you waiting.
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