IN THE RUBRIC "Business" we introduce readers to women of different professions and hobbies that we like or are just interested in. In this issue, we talked with Margarita Sayapina - the music manager of the Naadya and ARTEMIEV groups, the founder of the social network for musicians MusicMama - about how to find an approach to an artist, what the music business in Russia is, and why, in order to make the world a better place, you need join forces.
music manager, founder of the social network MusicMama
I'm terribly proud of the musicians
with whom I work - I am their main fan and listener
Dad raised me. I am a lucky and happy person, and dad is my best friend, and everything in my life has developed thanks to our friendship. When I was a teenager, perestroika ended and I had to choose a profession. Everyone was targeting the financial professions: lawyer, manager, translator, that's all - and I was also prepared for this. I studied in several creative studios, but for the sake of interest I decided to visit my uncle at the bank after school - to try to work. When I had to choose preparatory courses, I came home, sat on the floor and told my dad: “If I go to the office every day, I think I’m going to die.” He asked: "What do you honestly love?" I say, "Draw." At night I liked to turn on the tape recorder and draw until the morning, and I also always liked the clothes. Dad says: "Let's try textile?" I drew poorly and was afraid that I would not have time to properly prepare for the exams. In the end, I nevertheless entered the paid department, with poor grades, but most importantly, I liked everything very much. Dad believed in me, and this is the main lesson in my life: if you really want something, just do it - there will be both success and happiness.
I love music more than anything else - and I do it every day, and I also like to draw, write, invent - and this is how I live. Today my "profession" is like a scrapbook. Before that, I worked in fashion for ten years - I started at Kira Plastinina, worked with Dima Loginov, Kostya Gaidai and many other designers. But music has always been my main inspiration. In my opinion, music is the apogee of the human gift. I really have Stendhal Syndrome: I can cry from the sound of music or a concert show, even from an inferior YouTube video. I got involved in music management by accident and only because I just like to stand next to these talented guys. I am terribly proud of the musicians I work with - I am their main fan and listener. Nowadays music management is my profession, but in fact I don’t work a day, because it’s my very diverse and favorite hobby.
I work with my husband - Gleb Lisichkin (former editor-in-chief of Russian Vice, brand manager of Afisha-Volna, music producer and manager -). My dad is the perfect man, and I never believed that, since such a person went to my mother, I would be lucky to meet the same one. But I won the lottery twice and met Gleb. We fell in love suddenly, honestly being friends for five years, and started by doing PR for the Moremoney group. We even made proposals to each other at the concert of Pasha Artemiev. We share responsibilities intuitively. We are both very impulsive and can take diametrically opposite positions on one issue and fight each for his own truth to the death. On the other hand, as in any good team, we remind each other that now we are fighting to the death, because each of us defends our innocence, so that in the end everyone will be better. Gender does not matter in the allocation of responsibilities. Gleb is mainly engaged in organizing concerts and tours, because he has more experience and has established contacts in this area, and I - in PR and strategy. At the same time, I can put a person in his place much tougher than Gleb, but I always protect the artist's boundaries and his tasks.
While Moscow reviews are full of headlines about the "group of the year", Siberia and the Urals, nothing about this group
MusicMama.ru I came up with about five years ago, when I was the manager of the Xuman group. We were building a tour, and my colleague Nikita Zhilinsky showed me a terrible spreadsheet in Excel, which was supplemented by several managers, where useful contacts for the tour from all over Russia, the CIS and even the world fit in. We kept this table all the time and shared it with everyone who contacted us. They simply explained the principle to people and said: "Let's merge contacts, it will be faster and more convenient for everyone." This experience and the openness of my colleagues impressed me a lot, because in fashion, where I worked for ten years before, everything works exactly the opposite: no one will tell a colleague about production once again, no one will merge the contact of a buyer or a PR specialist. Music management is about personal contact. At some point, I imagined how convenient it would be if all this information was not in a monstrous table, but in the public domain on some website.
The main problem of music management in Russia is that while Moscow reviews are full of headlines about the "group of the year", Siberia and the Urals do not know anything about this group. Outside Moscow and St. Petersburg, they go to clubs not aiming at someone, but at someone who just drove to a distant city. Clubs and local media cannot create informative sites for themselves so that they can be contacted without any problems. MusicMama was conceived as a project that could solve these problems. I often drew it on napkins and told my friends about it. One of them - Vadim Potekhin - listened to me and the next morning after the "presentation on a napkin" called and said: "Let's do it." Vadim is a businessman, he built one of the largest supercomputers in Russia and invented the RenderMama service, a mega-cloud capable of processing and rendering giant files. Vadim is very smart and my wall is everywhere.
The name MusicMama appeared as a common noun, it was necessary to somehow designate the project - and it stuck. It is a social network made by musicians for musicians, organizers, promoters and anyone else involved in the music business. Our main goal is for everyone to work comfortably and quickly. We sincerely strive to grow the Russian music industry globally, and this requires very close communication. One of the most impressive examples from my college days is the Antwerp Six. This is a story about how six students from county Belgium got into a truck and went to Paris Fashion Week. A few days later, thanks to the "Antwerp Six", Belgium became a new center of fashion and the founder of a new school. In our country in the 80s appeared the "Leningrad Rock Club". Both of them achieved something meaningful because they joined forces. The main idea that I am trying to promote is that one is not a warrior in the field.
Musicians live on the cloud and organically
do not understand what a deadline is
The previous generation of musicians and their managers don't like the internet. They work on the phone. They don't care about social networks and SMM, they don't care how their website is made. There are many examples when a large Russian group deliberately does not release releases and does not lead groups on social networks. For example, Boris Grebenshchikov or Ilya Lagutenko's SMM is at the highest level, but the Time Machine group does not bother with it. Coming up with MusicMama, we specially met with different people - first of all, strangers - in order to understand how comfortable it is for them to work and what is missing. Older people said: “I don't need the Internet, I have two telephones, there are contacts there since the 80s, everything is in order”. The new generation gave diametrically opposite feedbacks - basically, we are building our social network for them, and it works.
In any country, the concentration of galleries, bars, and any kind of establishments per square meter is off scale, and musicians play in them every day. In the civilized world, there is no such thing in the club industry that Monday or Tuesday is a bad day. Every evening after work, people go to have fun, including through music. In our country, there are still very few venues - just as little appetite for the public and not enough good "live" musicians. People are used to drinking and going to the movies every day, but not to concerts. Therefore, every concert in the club is an event, and every time it is a financial risk.
At the end of last year, Gleb and I released the NG 15 collection on Afisha-Volna, for which 26 musicians wrote a new New Year song. Our generation does not have its own New Year's music, we listen to what our parents grew up on: songs from "The Irony of Fate", "Tell, Snegurochka, where was" and so on. The task was to write a song about the New Year: someone has children, someone was a child, someone remained a child - in general, the topic is rich and uplifting. We have been doing the project for a whole year. During the first months we sent letters to the musicians: "Guys, there is a great idea." Someone immediately answered honestly: "I can't write a New Year's song." Someone out of habit agreed, but failed.
Of the majority of the confirmed musicians, the songs had to be pulled out with tongs - they live on a cloud and organically do not understand what a deadline is. Only Dima Shurov, our beloved Pianoboy, was the only one who survived all the deadlines. We understood immediately: we have to lie, exaggerate and blackmail. My favorite example is "tomorrowman" Vasya Zorkiy. I firmly believed that he would write a great New Year's song, he is an incredible composer. I have a print screen of a two month long correspondence with him. Day after day I wrote to him: "Vasya, how is the song?" He: "Yes, yes, great song, I'm finishing it right now, you sleep, I'll send it tomorrow." At some point, I stopped typing new messages for him and began copying and pasting yesterday's ones: "Vasya, where is the song?" He answered invariably: "Tomorrow." And so every day, but in the end I really did a great song. All of us - musicians, the Afisha team, and Gleb and I - are proud of this project. I believe that among these songs there are those that will remain some kind of milestone of a generation. And most importantly, NG 15 was a charitable collection, all proceeds from the sale of which went to the Gift of Life foundation.
The task of the manager is to get on the armored car
and keep the morale of the musician
A manager exists in order to "do good" to a musician - it is not always pleasant, but productive in the long run. The artist is great at writing music, but he is not a strategist. As many musicians as I know, they are always different patients. In any project there is a certain big idea, it is understood and the manager is largely responsible for its implementation, and the musicians declare it or agree to it. At some point, the musician gets tired and says: "I don't want to." The task of the manager is to climb onto the armored car and maintain morale in it, to remind that in addition to musical material, you still need to shoot in a photo shoot and a video, give an endless number of interviews, release the announced release, and go on tour. Do all this all the chores. But it's like in a family: if there is a conflict, then steam goes - the cart moves. The main thing is to remember that this is a negotiated game and remember our common big goal.
My idols are my peers. I am terribly proud and admired by Denis Yerkov, who brought JNBY, Melissa, WoodWood to Russia, continues to bring new brands and makes the Items store. Denis did not have and does not have a role model in the Russian market, despite his age, he himself is a role model. I am proud of Kirill Ivanov, who re-imagines his music, Russian language and show every time. My hero, Nastya Kolesnikova, is the founder of the City Food Market, who always does everything contrary to logic. She sometimes cripples herself emotionally, but does what she truly loves and believes in. We are friends with Nastya and when we meet, we look at each other: "Is it hard, buddy?" - "Hard". Well, what, but not boring!
I have had dogs since childhood. When I began to live independently, I really wanted an English Bulldog. And my boyfriend gave me a bull terrier on my birthday. So we got Fedor. I remember I told my dad about Fedor, and he said: "Wait, what are you happy about, this is a killer dog." We read a lot of cynological literature to educate him correctly. As a result, Fedor is a kissed bed dog, by nature like a cat - cheerful, friendly and gentle. He does not know that he is a "dangerous" bull terrier, and also does not suspect that he is ugly for a bull terrier. All the owners of the dogs in the streets yell: "This is a bull terrier, take the dog away!" Therefore, Fedor does not have dog friends, they are afraid of him (and Fedor is ashamed of them). It is smaller than the classic boule, but larger than the mini-bull terrier. He has too long legs and sunken cheeks, no hump on his nose. In general, it is not even physiologically very correct. But, if you clap his hands, he begins to twirl and dance behind his tail, and best of all he knows the command "Patsylavat". This is the coolest dog I've met in my life. We are three best friends - Fedor, Gleb and me.
Photographer: Evgeniya Filatova