The meaning of life is just a great topic for many philosophical discussions, which will probably end in everything but for the truth. The modern world is cynical: “There may be no sense in life, but there is definitely a place for troubles.” Alexander Patlis, the leader of “Novi Ierusalim”, is certain that cynicism is as temporal as a bad habit or odd fashion. Decadence was once succeeded by indifference, which will certainly sink into oblivion sooner or later. Hope and faith are the absolute symbols in which the future will acquire the ultimate meaning.
— “Novi Ierusalim” is a very meaningful name for a band. How did it appear and what does it mean?
— The band as it is was born on January 12, 1992, although we all had been playing music before. Our lives before 1992 were very different from what we are today. We all realized once that something needed to be changed for the better. The answers to the “What to change?” question were found in the Bible. We found a chapter in the Revelation about the heavenly town of New Jerusalem, where there is no evil, grief, despair and betrayal, which poison our lives. The town of New Jerusalem is guided by love, mercy and joy. We decided to dedicate our work to one goal – to tell people about these values, to make them believe there is a heavenly town in each one of us. The name of our group is the essence of our activity.
— It was quite a bold move to introduce spirituality to our showbiz. Was it the requirement of our listeners or your own initiative?
— In modern society materialistic perceptions determine most of the values, and there is some sort of spiritual vacuum. We are trying to fill this niche. Spirituality is in demand now, because we are running short of it. Show business is also short of it, but not because it is something dirty, as many claim. It depends on people whether it is clean or dirty. If I am involved in this business, I try to add to it the principles of spirituality that I am guided by. So it appears that this is my initiative and objective requirement.
— But you cannot deny that showbiz is full of severe conventionalities. How did “Novi Ierusalim” manage to get over the clichй: it is more important HOW you sing than WHAT you sing?
— When people come to live concerts they feel very well whether the singer is sincere or not, whether his image and his songs correspond to what he or she really is. So there are listeners that don’t care where the singer lives and what sort of principles guide him. The key thing is that songs help to relax and have fun. But many wish to get some sense from what they hear, and many listeners find it essential to get the words the singer “filters” through his heart. Everything we sing about corresponds to our way of life and thinking, and people value sincere promises that are always kept. We are sincere, and our listeners are sincere with us. This is the best way to overcome clichйs and conventionalities.
— What do you mean by sincerity?
— There is an opinion that the righteousness that we advocate ceases to exist when we finish our song, that this is some kind of image that someone pays for. I wish I knew who pays us… I would gladly sign a contract with him. The music that teaches Christian values is not profitable from the point of view of money; it cannot be so by definition. Our music is not made to order and not for those who pay more. This music is born in our hearts. We believe in what we sing and sing about what we believe. This is sincerity: the inner world is free of the image, as it is the image. This inner world is open to everyone.
— The most frequent words in your songs are “love” and “heaven”… Is it an attempt to get away from reality?
— Belarus has acquired many professional musicians lately, and there are those who care about what they sing. I think it is just wonderful when songs ask questions that are worth pondering. They raise important issues, but there is rarely a solution. As for Novi Ierusalim, we not only ask, but also answer. We try hard to remind people that man is a spiritual being distinguished by the ability to reason, live and believe. Here comes the question whether we are trying to get away from reality, but the answer depends on the definition of reality. Is it the world around us that is so unstable and will inevitably change? Love, hope and faith are eternal, and they are real.
— So what about the name of the new album “Neba oskolki” (Splinters of Sky)?
— We are all parts of something bigger, we are not separate fragments that mingle to create some nonsense. People are bits of a giant puzzle, and if the right people meet they form a beautiful picture. You are a journalist, and I am a musician, we are absolutely different. But we have met, and people will learn something new. If you have this approach to life, it gets filled with meaning. I believe people are meant to selflessly serve each other. You are to follow the Bible and love thy neighbor as thyself. If you give, you get – this is the principle that the band promotes.
— Utopian thoughts.
— Really? But they are beautiful.
— And it is impossible to make them come true.
— There is nothing more impossible than the barriers we set for ourselves. The main thing is to believe in your dreams. A dream is faith, and faith helps us to become what we want to be. This is inner power that nourishes us and gives us hope when you are forsaken. These are not just words, I am a good example. I dreamt of being a singer since early childhood. I believed in my heart that I would be doing it, and my dream and faith helped me. Hope softens your falls and helps you fly.
— You must have a dream now… Tell me about your plans for the future.
— We work on a new album, we give concerts and tour the country. There is a bunch of plans. A new album, for instance, is a great pleasure. I am very pleased that it is being born now. “Novi Ierusalim” is growing. Our music and lyrics are growing better and deeper, but the sense remains the same: men are not accidental, life is not a mistake, dream is almost the same as faith. We sing about it in one of our new songs: “The sky will be clear tomorrow, the clouds are dying fast after crying rain on the ground. No, it is not so far, it is getting closer with every beat of my heart.”
by Anna Zubkova