Text: Žikica Milošević
Bitipatibi is the Belgrade-based band that boasts the sound and concept which would not ashame any world class underground band. Now their long-awaited second album is out, and we’re talking with the frontwoman Una Gašić.
- When I played your song “Mi smo od šećera” to a friend in London, he was delighted and asked me what were you singing, to which I answered honestly that I don’t understand a lot. It kinda reminds me of a religious experience where you don’t have to understand a liturgy by intellect but from the heart. Is there any truth?
The unintelligibility was not the idea. Maybe in the beginning I sang with lot of voice effects, and then came comments that nothing could be understood. Then I began to wonder why I do pop music and write lyrics if no one understands it. People here are accustomed to understand every word, such is the production, while Cocteau Twins are also not understood. But here, it somehow did not go too well. I always like the music first, and after I pay attention to lyrics. It never happened to me that I don’t like the lyrics if I liked the music. If you like our music, the band’s Bandcamp page has all the lyrics, and they are on the disc. At the next concert you will be able to recognise them. The heart reacts to the music, and when we start believing the music, then we believe the words. And they always turn to be good.
- The common enigma is the meaning of your name?
Bitipatibi emerged in the era of MySpace when we only had two songs at home, so we had to have a name to be registered on MySpace. It is not at all easy to come up with a name for the band, but then my mother at one point uttered “what do you care, šta ti bi, biti pa ti bi” and to me it sounded exotic, so we have registered. Our friends musicians heard it and Ivica from Nežni Dalibor first played guitar in Bitipatibi and Jova from Inje played bass. They took us away from the “childish” computer–music making and made us a real band. And there arose a problem because in the studio you can sing softly, and at the concert we got two guitars and drums? It still sounds too soft, and I think that the solution is to put a plexiglass wall between me and the drummer (laughs).
- The band seems to be an original mix of, say, Cocteau Twins, shoegaze bands and Mazzy Star. The whole dreamy pop is poorly is accompanied yet it is fascinating. Did you ever think of reissuing it in English, since it sounds “world class“?
I didn’t think about the “world class“. Dragan Jovanović and I made music in 2009 and we loved the same bands. It could be “world” class in the sense that in Serbia these bands, dreamy pop and shoegaze, are not so popular. I heard about the “(Serbian) Cocteau Twins” for the first time receiving comments for “Mi smo od šećera“. And for Mazzy Star, I started to sing because of them. Covering some songs on guitar I saw that music could be quiet, cuddling and whispery, so I was relaxed. The most important thing is to make a balance of gentle vocals and heavy instruments. I do not have a lot of colleagues to share experience of how to deal with shoegaze. Just to create a balance and this music would be much more commercial.
- The lyrics are rather painful (Andrija) and gentle (Mali betmeni). You write them?
- I noticed in Novi Sad that the audience reacts either listening like hypnotised or paradoxically, get closer to each other and start talking intimately. I know the latter makes you nervous. Are you proud of these two reactions?
I have such stagefright at concerts that I only care about concentrating to to make mistakes. Sometimes I am bothered since my vocals are gentle anyway, I lose my concentration. But we are living in such times, people often talk at concerts about their daily routines. Somebody listens carefully, somebody at the background, everyone according to how it suits them. Both is nice.
- You issued the new album. How much will it differ from the first one, which became a cult, and what about the promotion?
I thought it would be more different, but it turns it would be much like the debut. The lyrics will be longer. I listened quite many pop songs lately, like never before, and I understood a good pop song had a constant singing – it makes a good form of it. So I took care of it. Also I have more songs in majors. 90 minutes of melancholy is OK at home, but it is not that splendid at concert. People want to dance a bit, to be “carried away by majors”. I am not completely in it, but I like sharing that part of myself. Frequently you can’t control things but they turn out to be better than expected. We will make one more serious album, musically, but these songs have existed for 2-3 years, and it was stupid not to record them this way. I regret there was not that much electronica, but who knows, maybe it will be for the better, there are many nice guitars and an interesting rhythm section. It is the band’s growth. The debut had many home-made songs, and the follow-up has more songs from rehearsals. Too bad I haven’t made any songs for the last 2 years, it is all about posters, organising gigs, lots of energy goes to that. Perhaps I shoud hire a proper manager, but nobody is crazy enough to bother with rock’n’roll except the musicians (laughs).