Doing a live interview with a band can sometimes bring up lots of memories. Rock band Major Moment went through a giant leap to become the band they are today. Nowadays, vocalists and songwriters Andrey and Sasha are the working force behind it. Located in Boston, in the United States of America, the band has gone through some wild changes in the past, with musicians joining the band, leaving the band, joining them only for a couple shows, etc… Keeping in mind the band is relatively new, Major Moment has a rich past.
Andrey and Sasha are both originally from Russia. Before they started the band, Sasha was a professional tennis player, touring all around the world playing tournaments, showing good results. Later on, after almost twenty years of dedication to this career, she wanted to explore other things in life, so she became a tennis coach, which is much less time-consuming.
Andrey, on the other hand, was planning to become a doctor as his whole family are in the medical field, but it was quickly certain to him that that was not his destiny. He then pursued lots of other things, including studying in a law school, but those were all things he decided he did not want to do. Music was his destiny. That’s what he had always been saying to himself and so he decided to follow that dream. Of course, he went through a long phase of trying things that didn’t live up to his expectations. And then found what turned to be the ‘Major Moment’ in his life, that brought him to the point where they are today. The birth of his musical baby.
I had the honor of interviewing both Andrey and Sasha. They are both very friendly, very open and chatting with them gives you the good vibes. Not for one second I had the feeling I was doing a formal press interview. They gave me a soothing feeling during the whole time and it can be assured that they will be as open and friendly to anyone else out there.
Their connection through music is what brought them together in the first place. With Major Moment they share their insight on life and the world. The mission behind their music is to give other people the strength and encouragement to pursue their passion. That is what they both are doing today and are proud of themselves for doing this. Major Moment was born and is on its way to become a story in the making.
Loved ones and lost ones
A couple of years ago, the music world was shocked when everyone heard the news of the death of a big rockstar. I, myself, was also upset when I learned that Chester Bennington, lead singer of the world famous band Linkin Park, had chosen to leave this world behind.
The same shock that I felt back then, also triggered Andrey and Sasha on a deeply personal level. For many years, they both were a part of a Linkin Park fanclub in Russia and although they didn’t know each other, they both were friends with its owner. While on the road trip around the US, he asked Andrey if he could be staying at his apartment for a couple of days during his stop in Boston. He had a friend with him and that friend turned out to be Sasha. The rest is history.
Chester meant a lot to both of them on an inspirational level as well, and I guess lots of people can relate to that. So it felt as if the earth fell away beneath their feet a couple years later when they, along with the rest of the world, heard the news that Chester passed away.
Given what kind of person Chester was, I guess, it’s fair to say that he left us with a legacy that taught everyone that all people, black, white, tall, small… should be kind to one another, and treat each other with respect. Major Moment has all the intentions to continue his legacy. In honor of Chester’s memory, Major Moment has recorded their tribute, which is a cover of Linkin Park’s “Leave Out All The Rest”.
It’s interesting to know that in the past they played other covers too. The reason why bands do that is because it gives people something familiar, and as Andrey jokingly said: ”It’s like seeing a familiar face: you know you’re not going to feel threatened and have the feeling there’s no danger coming. The same feeling is true with covers. People know these songs and therefore they tend to react much warmer than to something they’ve never heard before… But for that exact reason, we almost never play covers. We want people to stop and think, to hear the meaning behind the song, not only have fun with some familiar music playing in the background”.
By now they also have enough of their own material, which are also pretty great songs, so why not playing them? Major Moment has the vision of being the creator of what they bring when playing on stage, in front of an audience. That is, of course, one of the main reasons why bands grow out. Every great band is unique in it’s own way and has its own signature sound. It would be a waste of talent, if you have created something great but never show it to an audience to the fullest extent. That is what Major Moment has understood big time, and tries to encourage everyone else to do the same thing.
An Award in the making.
Major Moment, in many ways, had its ups and downs. Sure enough, everyone does. As long as you keep believing in yourself and follow your goals, everyone can make it in his own way. Being nominated three times for the Hollywood Music in Media Awards, surely is one of those things that they will never forget. Even though they haven’t won, they are positive that if they keep doing what they are doing, one day this may become a reality. Andrey jokes: “At some point they will run out of nominees that haven’t won yet, and we are going to become the Leonardo DiCaprio of this award”…
Andrey reflects on the moment they got their first nomination: “I was a bit surprised, but not in the way of like: “Oh my god, I cannot believe this is happening!!”
Sasha’s reaction was almost the same. She was happy that their song got recognized by the pros, but they didn’t know much about the award or what to expect of the ceremony.
Arriving at it, Andrey and Sasha were treated with everything Hollywood has to offer, including the red carpet, press and photographers. They saw lots of well-known actors, producers, and composers for film music. “Back to the Future” trilogy soundtrack composer Alan Silvestry was there too, as well as many other famous stars. At that point, they felt very special. Being at that event felt to them as if they were at The Grammys.
That feeling of gratitude never left them throughout the night, but the most special moment to them was when their band’s name ‘Major Moment’ appeared on the screen amongst all the other famous names, it felt like a big win to them.
After the ceremony they had drinks and talked with other musicians and composers, who were curious about what other projects they’ve been a part of and which movie soundtracks they did. Andrey recalls he replied with the humble smile on his face: “Oh, yeah! By the way, we’re total newbies here!” But in the end, they had an unforgettable night and had made lots of new connections.
When they received their nomination second year in a row, they felt honored. It also gave them the idea that the first two nominations were not by accident. It was also the moment they decided: ‘Okay, this is an achievement, it’s a goal and we have to keep pushing to get that award, one day.’
When people start bands, they mostly decide to start off with some covers to learn to play together and gain a bit of experience. Most of the bands today play covers of songs that are from the older generations. Who doesn’t know the classics that are played at parties, weddings, gigs…
What do most of our generations actually think of the older music? For Major Moment, this was a question that they haven’t had before and found it interesting but also a tough one to find answers to.
Sasha grew up with classical music, as her mom thought it was a perfect way to introduce her kid to the music and art in general, and inspire creativity. She also played piano, and wanted Sasha to learn as well, but, unfortunately, she didn’t really have enough the time to learn it back then. Sasha thinks classical music is like a foundation to any kind of music, and she still listens to it occasionally.
To Andrey, older music had more meaning and was more personal. Back in the days, music wasn’t as accessible. You weren’t able to get your phone and search for any song you wanted to hear, instead you had to physically go to record stores, search to see which one of them had it, stand in a line, buy it on vinyl, cassette or CD, and play it on a record player that not every family had.
Today the accessibility of music is phenomenal, but it takes away a bit of the charm and the special feeling we had listening to the music we wanted. That’s why older generations say that their time was way better than what we live in today. If you listen to the music today and you listen to the lyrics, which is an important factor in songs, then it is a pain in the butt to see that lyrics are becoming more irrelevant in songs lately. There’s no meaning, or a background story. On the other hand it can have a meaning, but this can be very destructive and damaging to the people who listen to it.
What about other genres? Not only the older ones but also the new ones?
You can get inspiration from other genres too and use it well. Sasha for example, loves what Billie Eilish is doing. “I think she’s very talented! I was also a fan of Eminem for some time. It’s interesting to see how so many rock, indie rock and even hardcore bands over time slowly start leaning towards pop music, so it’s like pop music swallows everyone.”
Andrey said: “I’m open to lots of genres. Every genre has a good and a bad example. I hate commercial country music, but there is also good country music, like for example Johnny Cash or Sheryl Crow. Music should be about the connection it makes to you, not to the genre, but to you personally.”
Information towards starting bands.
When you start a band, the first things that come to mind are: What are we going to play? What are we going to name ourselves?
These are, of course, very important questions. But you have to think further too. You can’t just start a band and think that everything will be coming towards you without making any effort. That’s a sure thing. Andrey and Sasha are in the meantime more experienced within the music industry. Bands like those can give valuable information to starters.
When I asked them the question to give some useful information to starting bands, Andrey started laughing and said: “Don’t do it! Don’t do it!”, then added: “No, I’m totally kidding there, do it!” Sasha had her own thought ready: “If you really see yourself as a musician, go for it! But don’t think that it’s going to happen just by playing and doing nothing else, like it will magically turn into a full time job. If that is the way you think, then you’re probably going to be very disappointed.” Andrey adds: “The bottomline here is: be honest with yourself and do what you wanna do. Some say, all you need to do is to write one hit song and you made it. This sentence cannot be further from the truth. There are so many other important things you need to do as a modern day musician. Marketing is very important. If you’re not well known, but create a great song and release it, then how are you going to be noticed amongst the forty-thousand songs being released everyday? So be real with your expectations. Education is also important. Unless you come from a very rich family, you will soon realize it is going to cost you a lot of money to promote yourself. The internet is a good platform to promote yourself but it takes time and effort. Don’t just put up one song on your YouTube channel and then sit back and relax, cause it’s not going to work that way. Talk about it to everyone out there. There are people that are going to love your music, but you have to find them first.”
Sasha joins back in after Andrey had his peptalk and added: “On the positive side though, just 20 years ago record labels were owning everything and it was impossible to release music on a serious level if you were not signed by one of them. Now you can do that all by yourself, and do it successfully! Everything is possible right now. By doing it all yourself, you really have to pay attention to all aspects, basically, be your own label. Not only write music and lyrics, you also have to be a business-minded person, an entrepreneur, a marketing specialist, an accountant, etc.”
She laughs while checking off this list and then continues: “But you do need professional help still, if you don’t have experience. You cannot film everything with your iPhone, mix it all up on your computer and say: it is done. PAy attention to the quality of your content, as people don’t want to see blurry low-resolution pictures and videos anymore. So education and effort are very important here.”
Major Moment’s goals for the future.
To wrap up the interview, Sasha and Andrey give a preview of how they see the future of the band and what their goals are in the upcoming years.
Sasha says: “The long-term goal here is to take our music as far as we can, make it so it’s heard all over the world, and eventually to play stadiums, cause why not. All this can be done by further educating ourselves and being innovative. Hopefully, one day we’ll make it happen, and all our hard work will pay off.”
Andrey added: “We’re also going to stay focussed on what we’re doing now, will communicate with our fans and keep them up to date, and will learn to appreciate all these little things we have already succeeded in.”
Stay real and don’t think that everything comes out of the blue, but go for what you want to achieve and give it your best effort. That way, baby steps can maybe transform into Major Moments.