From the beginning to the end in continuation
Interview with Felix Khachatryan.
He will never call his album “Melancholic Moon” because “he is certain that people are already tired of such names, but his albums will be in volumes like a book.” We’ve seen him on our television screens for the past ten years and still do, but we still haven’t revealed or gotten to know him. Why? It’s because, as he says, “When you know everything about a person, he is no longer interesting. You have to be unpredictable. However, to be honest, Fort Boyard revealed my secrets. But what is the sense in digging deep down into my personal life? Who cares about that or why? My dirty laundry is my dirty laundry and it is only for me to wash it.” He doesn’t like to cite anyone and is certain that even if you know what Napoleon said and when he said it by heart, you have to express your own opinion and he does just that. The mysterious “3.33” in which there are three topics, including love, a fairy tale and what will happen in the “underground” for “true rap fans”. To put it all in two words: Felix Khachatryan, who says “Yes, I am strange”. “”: Should we start from the beginning? Felix Khachatryan: Let’s. “”: Which is the beginning? F. K.: It depends on what. “”: Everything. Which is the beginning according to Felix Khachatryan? F. K.: The beginning? The beginning is some process that leads to the beginning, starting from sex- the beginning of mankind-and ending with cigarettes-the beginning of lung cancer. “”: That was an interesting “beginning”. To a certain extent, your beginning was the Institute of Theater. But on one occasion, you said acting is not your profession. What made you realize that? F. K.: I probably realized that after playing in theater a lot when I was a child. When you know a lot at a young age, you get tired of it when you grow up. I would lie if I said that I was born to be in theater. I simply got tired of it and realized that it wasn’t for me. “”: Your next “beginning” was the Song Theater and song. You also sang... F. K.: And again, I realized that singing was just not for me and I got tired of that as well. “”: Then, your “beginning” was television because you didn’t get tired of anything? F. K.: Television was much closer to my heart. Talking was my thing. I realized that talking is closer to my heart than singing or acting on stage. “”: Talking is closer to your heart, but you say “I am always after my papers”. Perhaps writing is the “beginning of beginnings” that requires paper. F. K.: That is also the case for writing. I don’t consider it as much writing as I do the moment that has come. Thoughts come to you and you shouldn’t keep them in one place. Age, as well as life and health, are things that if stored for a long time, will still break out and have a worse impact. That’s why for me, writing turned into a way of discharge. “”: “666”: for some reason, it means Satan. “999” means the clearest gold. “3.33”, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think these are the numbers for the “ideal” duration of a song. F. K.: In general, Quincy Jones has always determined the ideal duration of a song and each song has had its duration every year. There was a year when the duration of a song was 2 minutes and 20 seconds. There has also been a song that lasted 7 minutes. Special experts determine that. Perhaps there are specific statistics according to which the “ideal” duration of a song is determined. We decided that our songs would last 3 minutes and 3 seconds or 3 minutes and 33 seconds, but not more than that. “”: Nevertheless, there is some “idealness” in it since the duration of the songs is going to be around that “number”. F. K.: I don’t know. Perhaps I’m keeping that duration because I start getting frustrated when I listen to a song that lasts more than 3 minutes. It seems to me that you have to manage to do everything in 3 and half minutes. If we can fit very long phrases composed of two different pieces and some chorus parts in hip-hop, it is more than enough in all cases. What’s ideal? I don’t know. Perhaps it is the number “3”. “”: But is there such a concept as “ideal”? F. K.: I don’t think so. Perhaps the only thing ideal is the “Ideal” system, which is the leader of the style and has nothing to do with us (laughing). No, I don’t view “anything” as ideal because nothing is ideal. Everything has room to grow and develop. “”: Are you at peace or do you fight with yourself? F. K.: If you are at peace, you have no ambition or plans. If everything is fine, you can simply be at peace. If you have conflicts, you start having different thoughts. Some people are not at peace and turn into criminals. Some become artists and some, for instance, drivers. “”: Are there times when you are at peace, calm, harmonious and don’t want to do anything? F. K.: Very often, but that is not harmony. It is totally the opposite. The conflict intensifies within you when you’re tired and don’t have the desire to do anything. It means that everything is not peaceful. But that is good because in this case, you work hard to make everything harmonious. Even when you do, it is short-lived because if you are hard-working, you always want to work… “”: Let’s talk about your rhymes. Are your rhymes a little like those of Sevak? F. K.: No. I must say that though we often compare a film or a song to somebody else’s work and label it, I don’t like to do that and in my case, my rhymes definitely can’t be similar to those of Sevak. He did his job. There are authors whom you simply can’t duplicate. If you try to write like Sevak (I won’t recommend doing that because there are sanctities that you can’t touch), people will listen and say “he is copying Sevak”. I view my writings as neither poetry nor rhymes. They are my thoughts expressed through rhymes and music which, on the one hand makes the job easy and on the other hand makes it hard because if there is a rhythm, that puts your lines in a concrete sequence. If there is no rhythm, you may have some trouble. “”: So, you take the rhythm and adjust it to your thoughts? F. K.: It’s a matter of approach. “3.33” is all about me and Narek. Narek composes the music and writes the lyrics by listening to the music over and over again. I write the words and then add the music. In terms of rhyming, I must say that I love the Armenian language. I have studied it a lot, no matter how much it may not seem to be the case. I simply don’t like to talk about that a lot. These are musical rhymes. If you dig a little deeper, the Armenian language is much richer than any other language. You simply have to be able to use it the right way. If it’s Armenian rap, you can’t use “yo” or “come on”. That doesn’t sound Armenian. You also have to rule out “hle”, “mtom” and other similar Armenian jargon. That still exists in Armenian rap. But that won’t be around too long because at least I “proof-read” my thoughts after writing. In addition, if you “come to terms” with accentuation, the longest word will turn into a rhyme. I have found a formula and am working on it. Years later, when I will have white hair and will be somebody’s father, I will write a book and title it “Mathematics of Rhymes”. I won’t let you in on the secrets now since I am still working on it, but I will tell everyone as soon as I’m finished. The important thing is to have something to say and know how to say it. You simply have to be able to do something new and not duplicate. “”: You have many songs that are ready. But in one of your songs, you emphasize “Listen to me from your computer too”. Why are your songs only on the Internet? F. K.: If I want, I can present our video clips and performances on any television channel because I have that opportunity. We already have almost 135 songs. We didn’t start all this and “3.33” for commercial purposes, but for fun. “”: Perhaps you are self-absorbed to a certain extent, or Felix Khachatryan is still closed for his audience regardless of being a host or a rapper. F. K.: No, I really don’t have anything to hide, especially as a rapper. If I wanted to, I wouldn’t post anything on the Internet. There are more songs off of the album and practically one album on the Internet and this is done intentionally. We didn’t create a “product” to sell, but something the value and quality of which matter a lot to us. That is the only reason why it is not for sale. Yes, we will also start presenting ourselves on television and what we’re doing by showing the album. But in reality, I am certain that if people truly want to listen, they will definitely find a way. Everyone has the Internet, mobile phones and everyone knows each other. To make a long story short, if I had a problem with being self-absorption, I would simply never have done all this. “”: “The last drop got bored of the clouds…” This is your thought that has turned into a rap song. What is Felix Khachatryan bored of? F. K.: I’m bored of people who talk too much. It might sound egotistic, but when I get tired, I want to be alone. When I get that feeling, it means I am bored of something. I am bored of everything that lasts for over an hour with the same people-parties, evening gatherings and events. I can only take it for over an hour. It is better for me to go and talk to some close people than waste my time. I wasn’t like this before. To the contrary, I used to stay, not get bored, drink, spend time and was the last to leave. Perhaps I will long for those times, but now…I’m not like that now. “”: Do you have a habit of looking back or do you always look forward, even by “longing”? F. K.: I absolutely don’t have a habit of looking back. I always look forward. Although I have written poems in which I say sometimes we have to look back, that is not looking back in the direct sense. “”: They say each person has two egos. Which are your egos…? F. K.: I would say I have 3 egos. They are 3 different characters that force the first to do something. So, it turns out that I have 4 egos. The first leads to the right, the other to the left and the third goes straight. It is up to you to decide where to go. But if there is darkness on the right, water on the left and a small fire in front of you, it is up to you to decide. Many stay in their place and don’t choose any of the 3 sides. But if you look at a person and there is neither water, nor fire nor darkness, he is sort of boring. You have to take all 3 directions to understand all that. “”: “Give us the bread, but never forget about our debt!” These are lyrics from your song. Whom do we owe and why? F. K.: That line is from one of the retro songs from 1997 or 1998. We owe it to everyone, starting from the taxi driver and ending with our parents because they are doing something for us. We might compensate a little or a lot, but in the end, this is kind of an issue that you can constantly talk about and never find the answer to. There is such thing as sense of responsibility. If you are a very responsible person, you have fewer debts. “”: You have “dolls”. Can you tell us about them? F. K.: Yes. The track is about Buratino and it’s from the series “Fairy tales”. Buratino falls in love with Malvina, but there is the more charming Aladdin with the magic carpet and the Cat with the Shoe (Koshkavor Katu in Armenian) with the horse. Malvina likes the carpet and the horse more. I won’t say how the song ends, fine, I’ll say it. “Buratino was looking at her from his new home, celebrating the New Year with Malvina”. This is how the song ends and it says it all. The series “Fairy tale” is composed of real stories. We called this series 3D hip-hop because you also see after listening. As you listen, you realize that you can “fit” in the space of what you’re listening to and maybe someday you will “listen” to it with 3D glasses. “”: Will you buy the last book with the last amount of money that you have? F. K.: If I knew it was the last book, I would. “”: What should that book be about? F. K.: Well, I will buy it to find out. After all, I’m buying it with the last amount of money. When I talk about books, I remember my childhood and Jack London’s volumes. I see those white, thick books. I had the first volume in front of me and was told to start with this and end with the 12th volume. “”: Did you finish? F. K.: I obviously did after reading twice. Perhaps I have been reading less now and, of course, I complain about that. But it is a matter of time and frustration. “”: We started from the “beginning” and reached the “end”. But life goes on. Let’s sum up with “3.33”, which is in process and is ongoing. F. K.: It is always ongoing. It may stay and television may become very boring and it has become boring a long time ago. Every day is the same. If everything works out the way I have planned, I will never go back to television. “3.33” might become my main job and I might go on with numbers. I will actually let you in on a secret. We are also planning to write a 33-page 3D book featuring several stories. The stories are about a man who wakes up, sleeps, analyzes his dream, realizes that everything in his life is bad and sleeps again. He sleeps the next day as well. In his new dream, everything is fine and life is good. It is a little close to surrealism, but perhaps years later it will become a bestseller and we will sell it to Hollywood (laughing). No, but seriously, I am mainly focusing on music now. The people who are close to us like what we’re doing and that is very important. But they are “like us”. The people who decide are those who will listen to the album and rate it and that day will definitely come. If something is not going to happen, it won’t. “Hayeli” (Mirror), “Tutak” (Parrot), “3Track”, “Tiknikner” (Dolls), “Verchin Ejits” (From the last page) and other songs off of the album “3.33” will put together the pieces shaping the “Felix Khachatryan image” like the pieces of a “puzzle” are put together. Do you want to complete the image? There is a formula for that. Go to “Youtube”, type “3.33” in the Search bar and enjoy, reveal, love, criticize, understand, rule out, consider it as a work of high value or incomprehensible, reject or don’t accept it at all. But there will definitely be something that will attract your attention. P.S. But until then, he really wants, as he says, the “you” premiere (obviously Youtube) of the video clip for the song “Hayeli” (Mirror) on the 3rd day of the 3rd month at probably 3:33. Time will show and we will definitely touch upon it. Lilit Grigoryan