Although the end of the year has not yet arrived, Avaspo is already confident to state that their plans are fulfilled. Fresh line-up, renewed repertoire, many concerts in Lithuania, a tour in Iceland, two new music videos and a third album on the way.
The head of the group, a playwright and poet, one of the organizers of the interdisciplinary festival “Tarp”, Gabrielė Labanauskaitė speaks about works already finished and plans for the future.
– Nearly a year ago “AVaspo” was experiencing a crucial change – the band, previously consisting of 8 members, was left with the four of you. Have you had any plans to gather more musicians for the line-up?
– Our goal is quality, not quantity. Gediminas Žygus has joined our team. Taking into account our musical direction, this line-up is more than fine. We just need to make more music and do more rehearsals.
– Having listened to your recent pieces, it seems that lyrics, sound effects, mood and even music videos have a more somber and gloomy tone. What are the reasons for these changes?
– I wouldn’t say our lyrics are mean. Current lyrics carry greater social involvement. In the past I was fond of the aesthetical function of poetry, of metaphors that prompt journeys to the imaginary worlds. These days I pay more attention to the message of the text. I sense the urge not to create art for the sake of art, but to have a clear and vocal position, that could stimulate people to reflect various issues and maybe change a point of view.
For example, a song named “Vokalistės mirtis“ is a manifesto against media and popculture portrayal of women as objects for sexual pleasure. Why men are not required to have a perfect body, a cute face or stage a show of nudity for their talent to be noticed? Maybe we won‘t change the archaic stereotype „viewing woman as a commodity“, but at least we can generate attention to these kind of issues. Do tyre commercials really need to show uncovered girls each time? As for the effects and vocal transformations – it‘s just a form where content is wrapped to.
– Compared to other Lithuanian artists, who usually perform the same songs year after year, you constantly change your programme. How do you manage to reinvent yourselves and successfully empathize with a new role?
– Our role is the same, only the expression is different. Both our albums, which in terms of music are radically different, have the same core – symbiotic unification of poetry, music and visual material.
– AVaspo’s oeuvre has been presented not only in Lithuania, but in other countries too. Recently you have returned from Iceland. Could you tell us how you got there?
– We were invited to Iceland by Reykjavik’s Culture Night festival. Lithuanian Culture Support Foundation made this trip possible by providing necessary funds. We are grateful to Rimantė Sodeikienė, who is always inspiring and takes good care of us, also to the cultural attaché Liana Ruokytė. Our thanks goes to Artiom Mimin, who warmly welcomed us in Iceland. We met local musicians and graphic artists in Reykjavik, and we hope to present few projects from Iceland in “Tarp” festival in Vilnius and Kaunas.
– People, especially artists, tend to idealise Iceland. They call it a fairy-tale land, a source of inspiration etc. What do you think is the reason behind its charm?
– When we landed there I saw an inscription stating “Welcome to the land of poets and musicians”. Really, if you live in this terrific environment, you just cannot stay indifferent to creativity – regardless if it’s a short verse or the art of living yours every day.
– Rumor has it that you are preparing your third album. What is a possible date of birth?
– Yes, the rumor is true. We have finished with the insemination process. We are still not sure how long the stages of incubation and purification will last.
– Vilnius is the place where you usually create and perform. Is there a special connection between your music and this city?
– Vilnius is inspiring; it has an alternative underground culture that incites discussions and the will to search further. I adore Vilnius and that’s why I live here, and not anywhere else. I am happy to venture away, travel, learn or live somewhere else for some time, but Vilnius has the best combination of mentality, culture and city pulse.