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Therr Maitz: to success in English

The band with the Far Eastern background will announce a new album for the Grammy Award.

For some, Therr Maitz is a guy with glasses with a billboard (probably a foreigner). For others - the Russian participant of the show “Voice” -2013, who took off to the semi-finals with the song “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaac. For Moscow stars - composer and arranger. But fans know that “Ter Mates” - as the name is pronounced - is Anton Belyaev from Magadan and five more talented guys. Since 2006, Therr Maitz is a metropolitan team, today the group has millions of views on YouTube, touring in our country and abroad. Why fame is “a jacket from someone else’s shoulder,” as foreigners belong to an English-speaking team from Russia, and when the new album comes out, East Russia asked the band’s frontman.

Therr Maitz: to success in English
Photo: Courtesy of Terr Maitz

- Anton, remember when you decided to leave the Far East? What drove you?

- At that time, I reached the maximum development in my environment. It was difficult to develop further and there was nothing to do. It seems to me that all musicians seeking to expand their audience need to scale from their hometown to the central cities of their country, go beyond, this is a natural process! The idea of ​​being somewhere else, playing in some other places, not limited to the city, visited me from the institute. At first, desires did not coincide with the possibilities, it took time. 

- How much in your pocket did you go to Moscow?

- I had several tens of thousands of euros. It seemed that this was wealth, but in fact I rented an apartment for a year, bought the latest equipment, and that's it - deep poverty began. 

- 2006 year, in front of you - Anton Belyaev. What mistakes would you warn yourself against?

- There are so many of them that I don’t know ... You cannot move back to change something, this is fantastic. It is very important to decide everything in your situation, because the guy who then went to the capital, he thought, did something, and this led to what we have. Now, with my experience, I may be too smart for that situation, that is, I may not correspond. And then it might not come in handy, or maybe even interfere, you understand? I did some things impudently, analyzing, but not knowing how the business works. Now the situation is similar (laughs). All is well in due time. Personal advice is difficult to try on to a wide audience. I am often tortured by people starting a career. I want to help, but, unfortunately, this jacket cannot be put on someone else's shoulder, do everything like this, here are the instructions, here are five steps, and you will have everything like mine.  

- What kind of haters from Khabarovsk who "sleep and see that you stumble"?

- At the start, there were people next to whom we developed, they said: “You don't need to go there, there are hundreds, thousands of people like you. You are no different from them, you will come back with your tail between your legs and ruin your life. " Perhaps they said it with the best of intentions. After a person has told you this, it is bad for him, when he turns out to be wrong in the end, he feels disappointed. At the very beginning of the journey, I communicated with many people and did not remember what parting words they sent me in the back. Until you shoot and win, all those who thought it was impossible justify themselves as follows: “See, I told you! They left, three months have passed, and they are not shown on Channel One. " Or we say that we are leaving, and on our page someone writes: "They didn't leave, I saw them last week." And at that moment we really didn't leave. It's a little funny, but when you're in an unresolved situation, it can hurt. Do you think these are the goats, for what? We are all living people, and there is a reaction inside, contractions, fear, dissatisfaction with ourselves. Outwardly, I never react, so I hope these people did not enjoy it too much.  

EastRussia help. Therr Maitz was formed by musician and producer Anton Belyaev in 2004 in Khabarovsk. Funk, deep house, indie, trip-hop, jazz, disco, soft rock, etc. The hometown of the leader of the group is Magadan, where Anton was at the same time in a music school and a teenage gang. Acquaintance of local gopniks with Mozart and the keyboard version of The Prodigy is his merit. When the musician was 17, he moved to Khabarovsk, where he graduated from the Faculty of Variety and Jazz of the Institute of Arts and Culture. The first professional team gathered in Khabarovsk. The name of the group is a mysterious script for fans and entertainer - derived from the word "termites". At one of the parties, ants were crawling on a table covered with alcohol. “This is how the English Termites was born, which we divided into two parts. We decided that this is such a pseudonym for a person, ”explained Anton. Later, a familiar designer designed the logo with extra letters. 

In 2006 Anton-Therr Maitz moved to Moscow. Since 2011, the group has been actively touring. In 2013, Belyaev boosted his popularity on the Voice show. The group was already known, but the success on Channel One became for them "a catapult, a jump over several steps." In 2015, Therr Maitz topped the Russian iTunes and Apple Music segment. In 2016, the single "365" became the soundtrack for the youth TV series "Univer". In 2017 Anton sang the song "Fly" OST (Original Soundtrack) for the film "Ice" - so far the only song of the group in Russian.

Anton Belyaev remains faithful to the English language, to his glasses and to his mascot - a plush donkey that accompanies Therr Maitz on all tours. Composition: Anton Belyaev (vocals, keys); Victoria Zhuk (vocals), Nikolay Sarabyanov (guitar), Dmitry Fomin (bass); Ignat Kravtsov (drums) and Ilya Lukashev (sound engineer). Yulia Belyaeva's wife works Discography: Sweet oldies (2009); Make it last (Single, 2014); Unicorn (2015); Tokio Roof (2016); 365 (Single, 2016); Capture (early 2019). 


- To compose in a foreign language, you need to think on it, to live?

“No, it’s not. It is an international music instrument. We sing in English not because we do not like Russian, we are a Russian group, we think in Russian, but here the focus is to convey the Russian way of thinking in the international language. 

- Suddenly. Do you get it?

- Yes. The "Container" track is just a successful example of such a transfer - tested on media. This fall we were in Florence between tours, and there we met two elderly American couples, over 70. My wife told them about me, put on our music, and their children are musicians, they live in a musical state, in general, everything coincided. The acoustic work of Therr Maitz made a good impression on them, and I decided to show the "Container", which just came out. They said it was just kapets and shed tears! For me it was like getting a Grammy. Because adults - native speakers of the language - said that they really liked poetry. Now the problem of contemporary music for them is empty lyrics. I didn't prepare for this test, but it was infinitely enjoyable. While this is the highest achievement of Therr Maitz, nothing was better with us. 

- Do native speakers hear your accent?

- Yes, of course, but then the question is in the amenity of this accent. I have it is not hard Eastern European. This is identification, and I am not a spy to train a lack of emphasis. In fact, our compatriots are most worried about pronons, and the pronunciation is criticized precisely in Russia. 

- bother and those who do not speak the language?

- Yes, Russians are especially fiercely criticizing the band Therr Maitz, which sings in English. The person writes: "I am an English teacher in elementary school, and I do not understand what you are singing at all." Well, OK. This is not because people are evil, it is because it seems to us that we have a multinational history in the country, in fact, if you walk down one street in London, look into several shops and cafes, you will come across 10 different accents. It's a shock for me when I go to buy a card on the subway, and an Indian sells it to me. I don't understand what he says, but he works in the service industry and speaks English! And the British take this very calmly, without pathos. 


  - Your videos Container and My Love Is Like got over 5 million views on Youtube. Who generates ideas?

  - I am writing the first paragraph in which the whole story is in a nutshell. For example, a boy goes to a hospital, this is his life path, he goes through his memories. Ideas are often transformed when faced with reality, it happens that I came up with one, and in the process it turned into another. Sometimes completely unexpected people invade these ideas and radically change them. As for the "Container" part, the merit of our sound engineer Ilya Lukashev. Once we were sitting with him at the airport, tired after a corporate party. I told Ilya the story I had invented. She was generally different, and he said that, yes, it was not bad, but it would be better to do it a little differently. I agreed. Initially, it was planned to shoot in the field, but we realized that if these islets of memory are built on the street, we will go crazy with the cold, and moved everything to the pavilion. In general, I give the initial idea and put it in the hands of professionals. I care about the visuals, as a producer, I control from beginning to end, I direct a little, but I am not going to take away laurels of directors, screenwriters or cameramen, because without these people it is impossible. I am a unifying link, I direct and bring to a state in which it suits me in all areas.

- Tell us how to give the viewer fresh emotions on tour if you play the song for the hundredth time? How do you invigorate yourself?

- We must love our work! Plus we are a live team, nothing repeats itself. I don’t know how people who drive with mini-disks work, they include the same thing, how they feel. They must be very tired of their music. I don't like listening to my music. After I finished doing it, I can turn on for a couple of days and that's it - I will never return to this. And I'm embarrassed when my songs sound somewhere. And playing live, you re-create the song, and it entertains me and the audience. If I get bored, then probably everyone else at the concert will get bored too. Sometimes I feel embarrassed to go out to people, and I feel embarrassed, despite the success, but I overcome this feeling. The profession obliges not to be shy.

- Is it a time when Therr Maitz doesn't have to prove anything to anyone?

- I would like to feel relaxation, but if that happens, it's a bad sign! Because it is impossible to be fresh all the time if you are not cheerful, just as you cannot wash yourself once for the rest of your life. 

- In all the interviews you call yourself a perfectionist. And how do you relax?

- I buy tickets to fabulous islands ... I really love the sun, so everything is primitive, there are no special practices. I rest like everyone else, do nothing, try not to be distracted. This is difficult because the control does not allow you to exhale completely, even on vacation. For example, when we leave after the New Year, and at that moment some release comes out. We do not leave empty space around us, we still throw in something, and only then we turn off. 



- In the past, you feared that the Voice show would make you a “miracle yogurt”, compared the Russian showbiz with “stinking sewage pits”. Has there been a rethinking? What are our "stars" really?

- First of all, “stars” are people with their own situations, fatigue. When you are outside this story, everything is simplified: this one sings garbage, this one looks strange, this one is something else. And these are all people, they have their own life, mood, today is good, tomorrow is bad, there are overloads. These words seem common, but the stars are real people, just like in your editorial office, in your office, like your neighbors. This is a collection of different people united by a profession that led them to the media.

For example, I am not a fan of Dima Bilan's work, I never seriously thought about what he was like, I didn't care. But when I ran into him on the set of "The Voice", after talking behind the scenes, I realized that he was a very nice guy, that it was interesting to talk to him. Now we are not just friends or often spend time together, but about once a year we meet by chance, and we are happy to share our experiences and information. A completely unexpected character for me, I never thought that I would find a common language with him. That is, initially my view from the outside was very wrong. 

- You said that you would not accept singing for plywood, hack work on stage.

- This is a general statement. Yes, it's true, I don't like people performing with phonograms, but in general I can understand an elderly person if at his age after the flight he lost his voice, and sings several songs to the phonogram, realizing that otherwise he will bend after the performance, and will ugly and awkward, and just like that, he gets out of the situation. What should I condemn him? He has to work, he feeds his family, after all. It is clear that this is not entirely fair, but ... 

- But to disappoint the audience will be even more offensive?

“Yes, there’s always something on the scales, or – or. It's just that a lot opens up, I learn, like we all do. In some ways I became tougher, in others - softer. The deformation is constant, it would be wrong to freeze in one state, and it would be strange if at almost 40 years old I thought like at 21. 

- Your son Semen and a half, how does he react to music?

- Semyon is an Instagram star, plays drums all the time there. Now the craving is there, I don't know if it will disappear or remain, while he is very musically behaving. I think he will receive a general musical education, a concept of mechanics. Whether it will become his profession is absolutely none of my business. 

- Fans have not seen your talisman - donkey Plush for a long time, where is he?

- In the same place where it has always been - in the pocket of a backpack, it never disappeared from there, and does not get out without work.


- If we recall the same Ilya Lagutenko, Primorye is reflected in the songs "4th trolleybus", "Vladivostok 2000". Is it possible to guess a Russian, a Far East, a Magadan from the songs of Therr Maitz?

- We do not identify ourselves with such accuracy to sing about Magadan, I don’t keep it in my head and I don’t cram it into songs, because for me this is a strong constriction. If I sing about boys and girls, then these are not Magadan or Khabarovsk boys and girls, these are any. It seems to me that the principle works more broadly, although in the case of Ilya, Vladivostokism gave him the initial impetus. He is very kind to this. There are not so many port cities in Russia, he glorified his city and that's good. But, again, Ilya used his recipe natively, he didn’t invent it, didn’t suck it out of his thumb, and it worked. I also act on my own desires, but I'm not ready to sing about the hills of Magadan yet. 

- DIY and indie projects have explosive growth on Youtube, do they need to rely on old crutches today and scale through the move? What advice do you have for beginners from the same Far East?

- While in Russia, and anywhere in the world, the physical presence in the focus of movement is still necessary! It is an illusion that you can do everything from some village. You can create an interesting Internet project that is not specifically shown anywhere, but anyway, some issues will have to be resolved on the spot, to conduct touring activities. While in Russia it is impossible to monetize anything virtual so that a group exists for it, a new product is produced, tracks are recorded, clips are shot - it is unrealistic. 

- Today, something binds you to the Far East? Tours, visits, friends?

- The other day, a landing of Far Eastern musicians is unloading, they want to meet, talk, ask me where to run in Moscow. I don’t know some of them, I played with others once. It is impossible without these connections, these are the roots, we communicate and support the guys. No matter how I try to be objective, for me people from Khabarovsk, Vladivostok and Magadan are a little different from the inhabitants of other cities.


- Is there a collective portrait of Therr Maitz fan?

- Fortunately, no. If you make such a portrait in a single copy, it will be a terrible Frankenstein, because these are people from different walks of life, different ages, social and financial status. We used to think we were a girl group. It turned out that the boys also actively visit us. Most active audience between 23 and 35 years old. 

- Share a spoiler: what video or release are you preparing? The fans in your bands keep crying about the new album.

- We are working on the "Capture" album. This is not a spoiler, we delayed it a lot, but this is done to make it good. We have big plans for it: we are applying for the Grammy. There are some complaints, plus we started working with a prominent Swedish production team. And now we are working on the largest release of Russian cinema, on the second part of one famous film. I write music for him. 

- Not the melodrama "Ice" about love and figure skating, by chance?

- "Ice-2" can also happen, there is no exact information yet. It depends on the producers and the company. Again, this is a job. Sometimes from the outside it may seem that the life of a musical group is a fantastic adventure. Everything is fun and cool. But in fact, it's a routine in which you switch from one task to another, and you sow a lot of energy in order to stay in the field, to stay needed, to get better. Because the better you did the last time, the more difficult it will be for you next time, and every new time you have to try to do at least a little bit better - and this is not easy.

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