Ostava/Octaba (BG). Svilen Noev
Autor: Richard Constantinidi
Etichete: Alexander Marburg, Berlin Wall, Boyan Petkov, Bulgaria, Chalga, Daniel Petrov, Gabrovo, Georgi Georgiev, Svilen Noev, Todor Zhivkov
CZB: How did the band start out?
Svilen Noev (Ostava): The band started out in a provincial town called Gabrovo ten years ago. We have a Technical University there where Daniel (drums) met George (the lead singer and guitar player) and Boyan our bass player in 1991. I joined the band and became the lead singer in 1995.
Alexander Marburg (Ostava): Then the band moved to Sofia five years ago.
Svilen Noev (Ostava): After we found our sound and wrote some popular Bulgarian language songs.
CZB: Are you signed to an independent or Major?
Alexander Marburg: We had an offer from a Major but we preffered to sign to an independent
Svilen Noev (Ostava): Bulgaria is a very small country, so it’s funny to refer to a record company in Bulgaria as being a Major.
CZB: Has the move to Sofia helped you?
Svilen Noev (Ostava): Yes, because all the TV and radio stations are there. We started our own label, cut a record and released some videos.
CZB: How many videos do you have?
Alexander Marburg (Ostava): More than 15; they are all on YouTube.
CZB: How many hours is it from Gabrovo to Sofia?
Alexander Marburg (Ostava): Two hours
CZB: Did you have to move to Sofia then?
Alexander Marburg (Ostava): Actually, yes. If you want to do anything in the business, you have to be in Sofia, becuse all of the important people and businesses are there.
Svilen Noev (Ostava): All the media is there.
Alexander Marburg (Ostava): This is not actually my part of the story, because I wasn’t with them back then.
CZB: What was it like to play in England for the first time?
Svilen Noev (Ostava): We played in London a couple of times, four years ago. We played with an English band and a Bulgarian-English band and we played in an Irish Pub. The people that came to the gig liked our music.
Alexander Marburg (Ostava): The gigs in Germany were also a success.
CZB: What merchandise do you have ... do you have stickers, T-shirts, CD’s?
Svilen Noev (Ostava): No, we only carry CD’s around with us.
CZB: Does it work in Western Europe?
Svilen Noev (Ostava): Yes, we sold almost 200 CD’s when we had the two-week tour in Germany.
CZB: How often do you gig?
Svilen Noev (Ostava): In Sofia we play twice a month. There are only six other cities in Bulgaria where you can play, so we can’t play there too often.
CZB: How often do you gig back home in Gabrovo?
Svilen Noev (Ostava): Never.
Alexander Marburg (Ostava): In Bulgaria it is very difficult to find a place to play. The problem is not that we can’t play in Gabrovo, but that there is no place to play in Gabrovo. So, we can play in bars to 50 people, but we don’t fit as a stage band. We are always looking for bigger venues ... that don’t really exist. Whenever there is a chance, we travel and go to the Black Sea or into the country but in Bulgaria you have few options for club gigs.
Svilen Noev (Ostava): We play mostly in five or six places in Bulgaria.
CZB: Have you been to Turkey?
Svilen Noev (Ostava): Yes, ten years ago. We played at an amateur band Rock Festival.
We recorded half of our last album (Rock'n'Roll Song Designers?) in Istanbul (released through Bulgarian Makor, Virginia Records).
Istanbul is the 2010 European Culture Capital.
CZB: Have you been farther East, like Russia?
Svilen Noev (Ostava): No.
CZB: Would you like to play there?
Svilen Noev (Ostava): Why not?
Alexander Marburg (Ostava): No. I don’t want to go there.
CZB: But it’s a huge market.
Alexander Marburg (Ostava): Everybody says that but I don’t know... It doesn’t interest me.
CZB: But the language barrier is minimal for Bulgarians.
Alexander Marburg (Ostava): Yeah, that’s like German and English, which are very similar but they don’t understand each other...
Svilen Noev (Ostava): (Yowls out a whole-hearted laugh.)
CZB: You are originally from Germany; why did you move to Bulgaria?
Alexander Marburg (Ostava): My mother is Bulgarian. My father is German. I have prerequisites prior to moving here but I met my wife about ten years ago and I moved to Bulgaria three years ago. The boys in the band are still making fun of my accent. Ostava is another reason I decided to stay here for a longer time. It is a rare chance to get into a band that is already formed, has released records. The people in the band understand each other well, so we are friends. A functional band is a gift so I am really greatful that I can play with this band and that we can be friends. It is like a small company. So, we do not think much about merchandising or stuff like that because it is not the primary reason we are doing this.
CZB: What were you doing when you found out about the Revolution in Bulgaria and what were your feelings for the moment?
Alexander Marburg (Ostava): The Revolutions in East Europe happened all at about the same time. I remember when the Berlin Wall was brought down or when Ceausescu was shot, Todor Zhivkov fell from office on November 17, 1989.
I remember Todor Zhivkov was very afraid for his life, especially after Nicolae Ceausescu was executed.
I was 15 years old back then and I thought Bulgaria would have a brighter future and it is better now even though our politics is still very unstable. The Cultural level is not as high as it needs to be in Bulgaria. People do not appreciate the cultural movement as much as it needs to be appreciated. Most of the people do not like to listen to music or go to the cinema. They like to drink, watch television, beat their wives.
CZB: It’s exactly the same here
Svilen Noev (Ostava): I don’t know what to say...
CZB: What is the popular music in Bulgaria like?
Svilen Noev (Ostava): Something like Chalga (Pop-folk), which combines Bulgarian traditional folk with popular Asian rhythms.
CZB: Is it like (Romanian) Manele?
Svilen Noev (Ostava): Yes. It is Turkish/Slavic shit.
CZB: And then you have popular house and DJ music?
Svilen Noev (Ostava): Yes, there is a very good dance scene.
There is also a very good Indie scene, but you are only playing to a niche of 8 million people, so you play in Sofia, Plovdiv and a few other places, but you cannot play every day.
CZB: When was your first gig out of Bulgaria?
Svilen Noev (Ostava): Our first gig out of Bulgaria was in Istanbul. We were terrified. Even if it was a very small festival, it was the first time we played in front of 1,000 people. Back then we had no popular songs in Bulgaria, no album, nothing.
The next time we played out of Bulgaria, in Vienna, at a very nice club, in front of 60 people.
At that point we had three albums out. Then we had a big hit in Bulgaria, a pop-rock song called Chocolate.
A couple of days later, we had an open air gig in Berlin, in front of a crowd of 500. It was a Britpop Party, and about 150 of those present were Bulgarian. It was a great concert. I think Berlin is the best place to live now.
CZB: If I wanted to discover contemporary Bulgarian music, what would you suggest I listen to?
Svilen Noev (Ostava):
Gravity Co---Interview by: RiCo: 21.FEB.2010
The Band Are:
- Svilen Noev [vocals/guitar]
- Boyan Petkov [bass]
- Georgi Georgiev [lead guitar/vocals]
- Alexander Marburg [rhythm guitar]
- Daniel Petrov [drums]
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