Interview by Tracey Moyle – The Music Maven
Recently our rock loving Music Maven Tracey Moyle had an amazing chat with Boston’s Major Moment’s founding member’s Andrey Borzykin and Sasha Razumova, uncovering a journey based on following their dreams through pure passion and determination. Borzykin and Razumova talk about their life before music, the bands awards and accolades and the influence music has had on their lives.
Music is such a powerful force. You can sometimes forget the influence it has on us, how we think and how we feel. There are definitely musicians in our lifetime who have left permanent marks on the lives of their fans and speaking with Major Moment in Boston USA, I found we had a common link, a deep admiration for Linkin Park and the influence Chester Bennington had on our lives and that of so many others.
The husband and wife team behind this band are not afraid of hard work and their determination to have a positive message heard through their music is inspiring. In a world where music has gained it’s widest reach in history through social media, finding songs that are built on passion, hope and determination is always a welcomed feeling amongst a ocean of at times, toxic themes.
Andrey and Sasha, thank you so much for talking to Good Call Live, how are you both?
Andrey: “We are good, thank you for talking to us today.”
How are things in Boston at the moment? It’s a pretty definitive times we are living in at the moment.
Sasha: “Yeah we have a lot of protests going on around all the towns in Boston.”
Andrey: “Yeah, this year has been something else.”
When this interview came up I jumped at the opportunity. Your music carries a strong influence of bands I love. I hear Linkin Park and Starset influences with a little bit of Skillet and Thousand Foot Krutch but it’s not just the music, it’s the message that you put to across. There’s such a positive theme to your lyrics.
Andrey: “Thank you so much.”
Sasha: “That’s so great.”
Andrey: “That’s really great to hear. That’s really important to us. A lot of music nowadays, we feel like it’s lacking the important message. It’s not all music that is being heavily promoted live on radio stations, on TV but we feel like some of that is bringing a rather destructive message.”
Sasha: “But also with the listeners we’re surprised to notice that not a lot of people actually pay attention to lyrics. We did.”
Andrey: “We definitely pay attention to lyrics that transfer the message. It’s one of the most important things for us to make sure of that. I would say the luxury of being a musician is it’s your responsibility, because you have a platform that you can deliver whatever message you want online, and basically hundreds of thousands of people can hear tomorrow, so we take this with definitely a big level of responsibility. More songs with deep lyrics are coming up.”
I love that. I have a playlist on Spotify of what I consider ‘inspirational’ songs that I listen to you that just get me in the right mindset. Songs that keep you going, to get things done.
Andrey: “Amazing, that’s great to hear. Honestly ‘inspirational’, it’s kind of like a cheesy word in a way. It’s ‘inspirational quotes’ or ‘inspirational lyrics’ or something. Honestly we bring this message so proudly because of the way we started making music, we don’t have a musical background, we don’t have a dozen bands behind us so it’s like we’re total ‘loops’ here. *laughs* So we try and inspire people by saying ‘Hey if we can do it, you can do whatever you want’, you know. *laughs* .
So in that, we are definitely an inspirational band.”
Can I just get a little bit of a background on your past? What lead to Major Moment forming?
Andrey: “Like I said there’s no background” *laughs*
Ok, well, give me the story then, behind Major Moment coming together. How you met?
Andrey: “There is a story. We both we are were born in Russia and lived there for quite a large chunk of time, 20 years or more. I moved here as a failed lawyer. I studied law for 4 years, and I just so happened to come to the states for a couple of months, and I loved it so much I decided ‘ah screw this Law School in Russia’ you know, I’m not going to be a good lawyer anyway.
Keep in mind, people in the states are protesting right now, there is police brutality and corruption on a high level, which are very important topics. We’re no stranger to those topics because corruption in Russia is a very big, very serious problem. In police and government – everywhere. So I just didn’t feel….. I guess I didn’t feel like being a part of the problem and I felt I was maybe a little too small to be a part of the solution. So I decided I’m not going to participate in the system and I feel terrible to be a part of it and so I decided to move to the states make a career as a musician. Which only took me 15 years to get situated here, then pay my bills on time and finally find some time to dedicate to my passion, which is a very important thing, because I lived here quite a few years and was making quite good amount of money and I was lacking something that would bring me joy on a emotional level. And I didn’t feel like just, you know, playing my guitar for 2 hours a day, would bring me that joy.
If I’m doing something I have to go to the fullest extent of it. Don’t worry if it didn’t work let’s just move to the states and try to become the biggest rock star in the world *laughs*, or at least the only Russian who is crazy enough to attempt it.” *laughs*
Maybe law didn’t work out because it was never meant to be? It seems what you are doing is exactly what you were meant to be doing right now.
Andrey: “Possibly, I can only hope that this adventure I’m doing right now isn’t what I wasn’t meant to doing.”
Sasha: “That’s the point, like you just go with whatever you’re meant to be doing in life. You do whatever you like in life and you build your life. If you want to have it you can have it.”
Andrey: “It makes me want to wake up in the morning for sure. It wakes me up at this moment.”
Sasha: “I hate mornings.” *laughs*
Andrey: “I hate morning as well but for me it’s like you have a mission and you have things to conquer to accomplish so for me (looks at Sasha) I’m going to start waking up at 4 tomorrow a.m.” *laughs*
Sasha let’s talk about your background. Your life prior to music was quite different?
Sasha: “So as Andrey says I’m from Moscow in Russia. My whole life, my whole childhood, was dedicated to tennis and I became a professional tennis player. I played on tour for five years and travelled around Europe, to a lot of countries. I achieved some pretty good results but I always had the passion for music as well and one of my goals was to be number one tennis ranking in the world and the other to release my own album. There are models in tennis, movie stars in tennis but nobody was a singer. *laughs* I really wanted to accomplish that. I’ve been doing whatever I like my whole life, I have a lot of hobbies.”
Andrey: “And she inspired me to do the same thing. I was, always like, so jealous that she was always doing and was successful at this, which is very important, and I was like I gotta try to do the same things. I gotta try to be successful.”
And how did you two meet each other?
Sasha: “So that happened when I travelled for the first time in the U.S. around the East Coast and a mutual friend actually introduced us to each other. We came to the states together.”
Andrey: “I was kind enough to host my friend and I didn’t know that he had a partner in crime, that is sitting next to me, and legally married to me as well which is crazy as well.”
Sasha: “Yeah it’s just crazy to think and we’re all connected as well because of our love of Linkin Park, all being a part of the Russian LP community, without knowing each other before, it’s like, this is crazy that we were never to be able to meet before.”
It’s funny you mention the connection you have with Linkin Park, because that influence was what I felt when I first heard your music. That’s when I knew I had to take this interview, because the impact Linkin Park had on me over the years has been massive. I know I didn’t know Chester (Bennington) but when he died I’m mourned him like losing a friend.
Andrey: “Same here…. Same here.”
Sasha: “Yeah he was like a part of our family”
Andrey: “He was a part of our family in a way, just because of him and Linkin Park, we (Sasha and Andrey) got to know each other. So that connection was so strong, you know, before we even met, Linkin Park meant a lot to us personally. Music helps us to get through some dark chapters of our life and go through heart brakes and what not, all separately on different parts of the planet. And then we got together because of the music as well. So that tragedy definitely hit us like it was happening to one of our relatives.”
You released your debut EP ‘One Small Step’ in 2018 and dedicated the album to Chester?
Andrey: “We had to. Yeah, absolutely.”
And then you recorded a cover of Leave Out All The Rest which has such a beautiful film clip. You can actually feel the emotion that you are pouring into it while you watch it. I love that you have all the money raised from the video going to 320 Changes Direction. (A charity inspired by the life of Chester Bennington, helping people understand the signs, that someone with mental health issues needs help. The charity is led by Chester’s wife, Talinda Bennington.)
Andrey: “Thank you, yeah it’s not much but we give it all. So listen to more of our video so we can donate more ok.
Definitely as far as the First EP goes and Chester’s passing, that event was actually life-changing for me in the way that I was sitting in the office of my own business and I remember a terrible Thursday, early afternoon, super hot day in July and you know, I read the news. And after a couple days past, after the news sunk in, I decided that you know, like I definitely did not see that coming you know, even though their songs are not all that happy go lucky right, and they’re full of depressing stuff and Chester had a troubled past, a troubled childhood, but still I just didn’t see that happening at all especially after Chris Cornell. However, that was probably the moment when I realised, screw everything, if I don’t try it right now, who knows, I might not be here tomorrow, anything could happen.
I was writing my songs for a long time and I felt like, you know if something happens to me like tomorrow, next month, next year, at least you know, there’s going to be something that I made first of all, and you know even if it’s not made yet I would die as a person who was in the process of a doing something of importance.”
Sasha: “And that kind of carried on to choosing the cover tribute that we were going to make, and Leave Out All The Rest seem to be perfect song, and as soon as we chose the song that whole concept it was just like, in minutes, together we were all on the same page.”
Andrey: “When I first heard ‘Minutes To Midnight’ CD, Leave Out All The Rest was, I think, one of the songs that immediately stood out to me, an interesting and beautiful song. It’s a great song and it’s not exactly Linkin Park style either, or so I thought, they were going through different transformations of course, of their own sound. In the song, with the tribute, we don’t want to go down an obvious route with crawling or In The End or something, because those songs have been covered over and over many times. We wanted to do something more of a like a deep cut you know, but not exactly, because it was still a single from the album. It just went by almost unnoticed I think, and the great music video they had as well. It was very sad at the end I think, that could be probably the first music video where they all die as a plot.”
If we go back to 2018 that’s when it all started for Major Moment. Since then there have been so many awards, so many nominations for your music and then your second EP ‘The Sequel’ was released last year. You’ve had twenty-one nominations, five wins and six honourable mentions in various music and song writing awards that’s just amazing considering you both just said to me that music wasn’t even what you thought you would be doing in life. It’s quite an accomplishment.
Andrey: “Exactly. Exactly. You see what we mean. If we can do it, anybody can. You guys can achieve anything honestly.”
Sasha: “That was a surprise to us, we believe in the songs obviously, but that’s why we submitted to so many of the contests. We were surprised to receive to almost every submission, we got either a nomination, a commendation or an honourable mention or a victory.”
Andrey: ”It was interesting, when we first got a couple of nominations, we were very excited about that, but we didn’t see the whole flood of them coming. Some of those awards are worldwide, names like John Lennon song-writing contest or Independent Music Awards. It’s not like some mum and pop awards right. Hollywood Music and Media Awards, how can I forget that, it’s crazy. We went to the ceremony in L.A. we didn’t expect such a high-profile ceremony.”
Sasha: “Yeah it’s in Hollywood, yeah it’s promoted very well and it has a beautiful website and they have Justin Timberlake on the cover.”
Andrey: “We didn’t see Justin this time. *laughs*
Sasha: “Yeah we didn’t expect much but when we arrived they had like red carpet and drinks for guests. Photographers and interviewers it was a whole other world, just like Grammys, it was impressive.”
Andrey: “Yes super impressive. I think we were nominated again this year”. *laughs*
Is that award anything to do with your single May Leave Scars?
Andrey: “Yeah, that is it is actually.”
I love the film clip too, it has such an amazing message.
Sasha: “Thank you”
Andrey: “Thank you we appreciate at it. There’s definitely a cool story behind that song and that music video as well. Fourteen years ago when I just came to the states, me and my friend, we were trying to pursue a career in music, pursue is not even a word, we were trying to write some songs, some ideas you know. So May Leave Scars was one of those demo ideas that was purely instrumental and was probably 5% of the final result of what it came to be. Years went on and he gave up on wanting to be a musician and I always held onto those songs and those ideas. I felt like they had potential. I felt they needed to be explored further. They needed to be finished. So I said to him ‘let’s finish them up’. Then he’s basically saying that nobody cares about rock music now, there’s nobody who wants to hear your message, your story and something like that. So I decided ‘I’m going to just finished at all myself’. The lyrics of the song, that’s exactly what I wrote about – nobody cares, nobody wants to hear your story, it’s like I convert the conversations between me and him. I was so upset that he gave up on his dreams that I wrote the song about it. Little did I know that this song is going to get some awards and some nominations. See I was right, I’m right this song needed to be finished it’s crazy. I was never so right in my life except when I decided to marry you.” (smiles at Sasha)
It’s so amazing that you’re winning an award for a song that you’ve put your heart and soul into, especially when there are so many songs on the radio today you wonder how they even got there in the first place.
Andrey: “Yeah. All the time.”
Sasha: “That’s why we started the music.”
Andrey: “That’s the reason why we started making music in the first place. I was like ‘oh man, I cannot listen to this anymore what if we just write some stuff ourselves’”. *laughs*
With everything growing so fast, do you think it’s because you have a good combination of members within the band?
Andrey: “No. *laughs* We’ve had the worst luck with band members so far.”
So who do you have with you in the band at the moment?
Andrey: “We have Sasha, we have me, we have Dan (Interrante) on rhythm guitar and Eddie (Thurmon) on lead guitar. So far we went through close to probably 20 band members. Some of them were just there for one gig, others were a year.”
Sasha: “But I feel like that’s fine. Some people think to themselves they want to pursue a career in music and make it happen on a bigger scale, but when it comes to actually putting in the work they realise that probably it’s not their thing. But we also didn’t know it required that much work. But as you grow, you realise that you can do this and you can do that, you have go down this avenue and you have to be so many professions to succeed, you have to be a photographer, a videographer, graphic designer, website creator, song writer, manager, accountant, lawyer all of that. But it’s fun, never a big challenge.”
Andrey: “Never a dull moment.”
Did you have any tours lined up before Covid struck?
Sasha: “Before it started, before then, we actually had a couple of festivals and shows scheduled. Some of them were postponed, some of them cancelled, some are still happening this year maybe, we don’t know yet, and I think it’s going to be tough to do any kind of tour this year. We were very excited about one of them. Hopefully next year. Whenever the time comes we will be ready.”
Andrey: “Next year it will be even better. We can build the momentum and maybe people will recognise us more and on top of things we can release new music. We have four new songs that we recorded literally days before this started in the states. Before they had the stayed home order. We recorded everything but then the album actually had to be mixed in the home environment and not in the studio, so our mixing engineer and producer Kevin definitely had a fair share of challenges on his plate as well, mixing the album in, I guess an usual environment. But we’re super happy with the way they turned out and the first one is called The Flood. It’s coming out July 10th. We are super excited about it because actually, it’s a very unusual song for us.”
Sasha: “It’s only the best song we’ve ever written.” *laughs*
Andrey: “Definitely, I believe that. The best part about it is we wrote it together. When I started writing it I wrote it with the notion in mind for Sasha to sing it. That’s something that we haven’t done before because I was mostly the lead singer on all songs and I was like ‘I got to write a song for Sasha‘ and I started writing some ideas and then Sasha joined me on the lyric writing process. Magic happened again. I definitely believe in that. It’s such a weird thing for me to say like ‘magic happened’. It’s a pretentious thing for me to say but you know, I say so because I believe in this song. I just love it and so far people who have heard it are very positive about this song. We have a couple besides this song. We have alternative versions of songs that we have released in the past and the new songs, so we are toying with some ideas for our fans.”
Sasha: “There’s definitely going to be enough content for the fans for the times we can’t play live. So don’t worry guys.” *laughs*
Andrey: “We’ve got our lyric video already done and we’re working very high profile music video for it.”
So Sasha has lead vocals on the new track? That’s pretty exciting. I love female rock vocalists.
Sasha: “It was very nerve racking for me but I’m also very excited. It’s a great song.”
Andrey: “It’s the best song. We’ve written so far what a great start for you as lead vocalist in the band.”
Sasha: “I also don’t know a lot of bands that do lead vocals with females and males. But we’ll bring something new to the table definitely.”
Andrey: “I think it’s an interesting move as well and by the way, we haven’t told anyone yet it’s Sasha singing. Up until this point we haven’t told any of our fans only posted some instrumental snippets of the song. There is a reveal coming.
When we went to the studio to for the tribute, one of the things that Kevin our producer sais was, ‘your voices were blending together so nicely that this crazy’ like we should definitely use Sasha as more of an important part of the vocal lines not just some backing vocals, so that’s what we did.”
I’d love to see you guys in Australia when the borders and everything opens back up again. I think you’d be great for one of our festivals.
Sasha: “Oh yes.”
Andrey: “We would love to.”
Sasha: “We’re definitely going to put it on the wish-list. How are you guys going with the fires.”
Slowly rebuilding. Australia’s doing really well with Covid at the moments, we have very few active cases so our borders will all be open soon and I know a lot of people who will be travelling, for holidays, to towns that need the support and the tourist dollar.
Andrey: “Once we heard about those terrible events in Australia, I think they started in December but January is when we heard about it. We pledge to donate all income from streaming services for 3 months to the bushfires and we received our statement today actually for the first 3 months. And were going to be forwarding the second part of our donation to wildlife relief funds.”
That’s amazing thank you so much. That’s wonderful.
Major Moment are on all major streaming platforms.
New Single The Flood is out July 10th
With thanks to Stencil PR/Rouge PR