QUICKIE OF THE WEEK: A short interview with Svetlana Bliznakova (Sevi)

written by Marko Jakob

Pix666: Hello Svetlana. The most important question right at the beginning. Are you well and are you healthy?

Svetlana: First of all I want to thank you for this interview. Yes, I am well and healthy. I am excited about the premiere of my solo album and this emotion brights up my day.

Pix666: Your band SEVI has celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. What have been the highlights of the band’s history so far and what would you have preferred to do differently in retrospect?

I still can’t believe there’ve been 10 years although it’s not so much if you think about it globaly. I am thankful that we managed to achieve so many great things for such a short period of time. We started from zero and now we are along the most popular bands in Bulgaria and we were honored to play along or work with names like Dee Snider, Doro Pesch, Evanescence, Europe, Sabaton, Black Stone Cherry, Cinderella ..I wouldn’t change anything because what we did so far made us who we are now. I love every moment of our story even the bad ones.

Pix666: How did the collaboration with Jen Majura from Evanescence and also with Thomas Vikstrom from Therion come about? Do you think that contacts with musicians of such world-famous bands help to increase the popularity of your own band?

Svetlana: Well, we met Jen at Hills of Rock festival 2017 – one of the biggest festivals in Bulgaria. We played on the Main Stage with Epica, Evanescence and RavenEye. We chat since and last year when we were finishing our third album I thought that having some special guests on the album would be cool. I wrote to Jen and she accepted under one condition- she had to like the track. I remember that both me and Alexandra Zerner( brilliant guitarist who worked with us on the album) were positive that the song for Jen was To Hell and Back so we sent it. Jen loved the track so much that she even came here to shoot a video together. We didn’t know that some months later we would be able to play the song right before the Evanescence show in Bulgaria in Arena Armeec Hall (Sep 11th Sofia). It was the perfect councidence a band could ask for. J First a single and video together and than – SEVI as a special guest on the Evanescence show and the oportunity to perform our featuring song together live.

As for Thomas – I don’t know him personally but I know his work and I like it a lot. He has a powerful, one of a kind voice. When we recorded the track „The art of war“ somehow we knew it had to be a duet. There was no  doubt – Thomas was the singer for this song and I am so thankful that he accepted.

These kind of collaborations are very important because there is so much you can learn from the big artists. Also it’s a challenge that helps you improve your writing, singing etc. and also it can bring more fans and popularity. Music is an energy exchange and the more artists you work with the better you become as an artist, too.

Pix666: You have already performed as support act for Evanescence and Nightwish. Describe this feeling when you go on stage and thousands of fans are cheering you on.

Svetlana: Well, these are the moments that you feel trully fulfilled. You feel your heart is beating faster and you are worried because you want to give your best and at the same time you feel you can fly. I love this feeling.

Pix666: In a few days your Solo Debut album ‚Tomorrow’ will be released. What was the reason for you to additionally pursue a solo career – in how far does the music of Sevi Solo differ from your well-known rock band?

Svetlana: Well,it all started with Chris Cornell‘s death .It was a big shock to me and I spent some time thinking about some deep  questions.I felt I wanted to record an album in a different style and direction. Lyrics just started to come and along with my talented collegues Rally Velinov and Alexandra Zerner we creaeted 11 tracks in a Rock-acoustic ,even country style. This step was not so much a solo career attempt, it was more a challenge to myself, ideas that had to be released , a dream that came true. For me the band is always on first place but I feel I have the energy to give even more music to the fans so if they like the project I will be happy to write more. I have gathered a band with talented musicians who will help me present the album at the official promo event and I want to thank to anyone of them for joining in. Martin Profirov, Rally Velinov, Alexander Kirilov, Rosie Lesidrenska, Milena Geneva, Ivan Popov.

Pix666: The work on the album took several years. Has the Corona crisis finally accelerated the rest of the work?

Svetlana: Well yes and no. From one hand the Corona gave us more time to work on this but postponed many of our plans with the band for this year. Also it makes it harder to present the album now, less options for touring and making shows

Pix666: Who supported you with the work on the solo album, who is part of the team?

Svetlana: First of all I want to thank to Rally Velinov (bass player of SEVI and my husband) He helped me create amazing songs and arrangements. He  played guityars, bass, harmonica, some piano parts etc. Special thanks to the talented Alexandra Zerner who created the tracks „Tomorrow“ and „The gift“ and cooperated on the arrangemtns of many of the songs, recorded guitar parts, synths, piano,mandolins. I have to mention also Peter Bratanov and his studio – Pepinio Records. Not only that we recorded most of the tracks there but he also participated with guitars, drums and percussions. Special thanks to Johnny Gioeli and Alberto Steri who are guests on the album and to Marin Murlev for crteating the music of the track „Another Try“

I want to thank also to Simeon Slavchev fort he mixing and mastering.

The CD cover is designed by Radostin Hristov – Stin , photos by Viktoriya Vucheva and Rally Velinov. I really want to thank everyone involved.

Pix666: When you release new songs, you surely want to play these songs live in front of an audience. Do you already have any plans for gigs in the future? In Germany there is he next lockdown and it is not possible to organise concerts. What is the situation in your home country?

Svetlana: Well, the situation is hard everywhere I think. Here are still some clubs and halls that can work until 11.30pm on  30% of the capacity of seats and that gives me a chance to promote my album on Nov 15th. I plan a small tour after  around the country.

Pix666: Let’s get back to your band SEVI. Will there be a new full-length SEVI album soon, if so, when?

Svetlana: Yes, we are workng on our 4th album We released the first single „Shattered“ this year and we had to release two more but due to covid we will postpone for 2021.

Pix666: What else did you do besides the music during the contact restrictions? Do you have any interesting hobbies? Or is music simply everything in your life?

Svetlana: Well, I love to paint. I create hand made merchandise for our fans and they like it a lot. I enjoy drowning a lot and it helps me relax.

Pix666: What is the general mood in Bulgaria regarding the Corona crisis??

Svetlana: I believe that it’s close to people’s mood all over the world. For some people it’s even better to stay home-office and have more time with the family For others the crisis is really big, many people lost their jobs and are scared for the future. I believe that we are about to feel the concequences of this „lock down“ in the near future. Because for example, in our musical world – when you have people scared not willing to go out on clubs and shows it will take a lot of time to bring them back when it‘s all over because I think that what is best and worse about humans is that we are adaptable…

Pix666: Do you think that this crisis will change the behaviour of humanity in the future?

Svetlana: It already did. It made people stand against each other.

Pix666: What do you think will be the long-term consequences of this crisis for the economy and especially for the music business?

Svetlana: Somehow I answered this above but still, I think that this BIG STOP we are all experiensing – especially in the freelance sector will take years to come back where we were before this Corona showed up. When you are an artist, performer or a Festival you build your career step by step with perseverance and the process is like a chain. If you stop even for couple of months to me is a step back. When you close a Bar, you don’t only close a bar, you lose audience, you leave without job bartenders, waitresses, delivery people, taxi drivers, artists, PR agencies, alcohol supplies etc etc. And when you prepare your show from 5 months with rehearsals and PR campaigns, sold tickets etc to postpone means you lose more than just some tickets money and advertising.

Also along this virus and isolation the focus of the people’s mind is displaced. Try to imagine how many new books, films, music ect. won’t be able to be released this year and even if they could, the news about Corona will leave them on the “backseat” which can’t be fixed..I am not saying that people’s health is not important and that we don’t have to be careful but to me the fear itself is much scarier than the real threat.

So please remember: art heals! Focus on positive things and let the art help you pass through the rough times.

Pix666: Do you have any other news about SEVI that you would like to share with the fans?

Svetlana: Yep, always. Get ready for new music from SEVI. We are preparing the long expected duet with Johnny Gioeli and another new single for next year. We are also working on the second part of our book „The Price to be Yourself

Pix666: Thank you very much for the interesting insights into your present life – Stay healthy!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SEVIband

Website:  https://seviband.com/

live pic © Viktoriya Vucheva Photography

black and white band pic © Vihro Laskov

Video and album release trailer: