Atlantida coming up
The history of the group began in 2007 when the future founders - Aleksandra Sokolova and Sergey Zyazin met by chance. At that time Aleksandra participated in her musical band called “The coast” that almost fully consisted of her friendly theatre team “Red Theatre”. The guys played songs with rather strong ethnic emphasis. Then Sasha occasionally acted as a clown at different city events with her musicians. However, she didn’t enjoy working as a clown. Since the very childhood Sasha had been writing songs. Different musicians had been attracted to her through the years. There was a band “Aorta” previous to “The coast”. Prior to that multiple unnamed bands were also formed.
By that time Sergey had been a rather experienced musician playing various instruments in such bands as Ole Lukkoye, Samosad Bend, Dadazu and others. Mostly he played drums. But he always wished to create his own music, to arrange music. He wished to quit accompanying other musicians and to start implementing his own ideas.
At that period he organized a rehearsal hub in a small art centre that was situated in the basement of a technical vocational school at the city outskirts. The rehearsal hub at once resolved itself into the underground club. And then one day the band “The Coast” was performing in this odd place. Sergey instantly fell in love with Aleksandra’s songs and the band started holding rehearsals at the hub. Soon enough the art centre was driven out (in a month), when the manager of the vocational institution found out that there was not a warehouse in the basement of his building as it had been stated in the documents. The building rented by Sergey's friend for warehouse needs acquired absolutely alternative look. Fluorescent images and Indian canvas covered the walls of the art centre. Music had been playing day-and-night and hippieish people had been constantly wandering up and down the center. However, this short period of time, while the center had been working, was enough for Sasha and Sergey made good friends. Soon afterwards the "The Coast" drummer quit the band and Aleksandra asked Sergey to replace him. The band played several concerts in such a lineup. One of these days the guys decided to hold a curious action - to play a concert at 8 o'clock on Monday. The concept of such an action was that listeners get up a little earlier and get a charge before their working week. It ended up in few visitors. Mainly the public consisted of randomly scattered bodies along the club that stayed there after night disco, who woke up from music sound with bewildered look, hardly realizing whether they were dreaming or it was really happening. Ideologic, fresh and sober guys were sitting beside them, who came there before their working day, as it had been in theory. But everybody appreciated the joke without doubts.
Sasha visited Sergey with increasing frequency. Finally she moved to his flat. Then they lived in Kolomna, the most mysterious district of Saint Petersburg. A lot of strange things happened at this home; the atmosphere had a taste of mystic. The neighbour downstairs was demolishing the ceiling right under the bathroom, from time to time ending up in getting into mental health institution that was situated nearby. In the entrance hallway one could meet gloomy incommunicative guys of vampirish look. The events were also quite mystic: you could find the letter in the chocolate bought in the nearby shop, or you could think that you needed a new monitor, when you open the door and see it right on the hallway. By all means, such atmosphere influenced the creative process much. It was the period when Sergey had only discovered the world of analog sequencers and had been spending a lot of time with clued up to devices, thinking out different music parts. More and more music ideas occurred to him and he started to become dominant in the band and slightly press other musicians. Dissatisfaction among the members of the band had been growing. Finally Sergey found the way out: Sasha and Sergey founded a separate music project. Serezha quit “The Coast”. It seemed that everyone should be happy with that fact, but actually “The Coast” ceased to exist approximately in a month. The creative steam that absorbed Sasha and Serezha was such powerful that they didn’t have time or energy for some other thing. In summer 2007 the guys headed for a festival called “Space of Joy” in Crimea. The name of the band was made up in the train. Initially the word “Foregoer” came up to Sasha’s head. She fell asleep. In the morning Serezha woke her up and offered the name “Atlantida”. This was the name of the band used for the first time at Space of Joy festival in 2007. At the beginning “The Coast’s” keyboard player Katya Semiozerskaya migrated to Atlantida. Several concerts they played a trois. However the main creative stream was circulating between two people: Sasha had been writing songs, Serezha had been making arrangements. Energies had been surging more and more. Their creativity was fueled with the love affair that ran high. Finally the guys couldn’t bear the passions and quarreled greatly at the end of 2008. However, their quarrel didn’t last for a long time. Both realized that after they had learned each other they couldn’t live without this. They made peace with each other in a month and came to an agreement that they would continue to create music in spite of everything. Their personal relationship had become very strange from this moment. They broke up and came together several times, but their creative alliance was strong and never failed to exist so far. The band’s lineup was floating. There were from two to ten people performing on the stage at the concerts at different times. Once the guys called almost all the members of “The Coast” band to perform with them on the stage. At that time Mikhail Skurihin joined the band. Mikhail was acquainted with Sasha long ago and arranged her music several times. Serezha appreciated much the work of Mikhail as a musician and sound-producer. He started performing as a bass-guitar player with the band.
The guys initiated the work to prepare their new album. It all started with the song “Sarva Mangalam”. The moment of recording the track is quite mysterious. The vocal was recording at the studio “Melody” that was situated in the building of the Orthodox Church. The guys scheduled night time for recording. A heavy storm started. So here is the situation: Indian mantra is being recorded at night in a heavy storm in the Orthodox Church with a vocal of Russian folk singer. It was recorded using analog means. Probably the atmosphere of that night was imprinted on the record. The second recorded track was “Mind”. The process of its recording had been taken a long time. The guys had been searching for a perfect sound. The vocal had been recorded about 10 times at different studios. The work on this song finished only in 2009. Further on the work on the album took place at the studio of Mikhail Skurihin and at home studio of Sergey Zyazin. The album’s last track “Lullaby” was composed, arranged and recorded fully for three days. This was a momentary impulse, there was no possibility to stop it. Several sleepless nights served a creation of a unique song in the history of the band. Songs had never been composed for such a short period of time neither before that nor afterwards. The presentation of the first album “New Dimension” took place on the 10th December 2010 in the club of Saint Petersburg called “Igrateka”.
After the release of the album concerts had been held more and more often. Sergey had been tearing around drums and guitar on stage. On the one hand he wished to play guitar on stage, on the other – they couldn’t find an appropriate drum player. Groove is a most essential thing in the band’s creativity indeed. For some period of time their performances were as follows: some songs Sergey accompanied with a guitar, while the drums were electronic; some tracks were accompanied by Sasha while Sergey was playing at the drum set. They found the drummer at a constant basis only in 2012. It was Kirill Solovjev, a professional drummer, who had played in such bands as: “The Bricks”, “Scaphandres” and others. Sergey and Sasha at once appreciated Kirill’s skill to hold the groove distinctly, in spite of everything and to play clearly in rhythmometer – which is the necessary condition for electronic project. In 2013 the band joined Sergey Kuzmischev. They played in such a lineup for about a year. Then Sergey Kuzmischev left the band.
Folklore is the specific and essential margin of the band’s creativity. Sasha had been specialized on folklore professionally for a long time. In 2005 she graduated Leningrad Regional College of Culture and Arts with a specialization in “A leader of folk group”. It was at that time already when she perfectly mastered her voice, while continuing to hone her skills. Sasha always loved to gather soul-mates and sing together. After a while she started teaching vocals and founded her folk group. All the time Sasha tried to find rare and unique records. She used to say that only few people listen to folk music, as performers usually choose the same songs. There is a huge layer of folk music, unfamiliar to anybody. And this layer deserves to be studied thoroughly! Sasha tried to extract this layer on the surface. She started singing folk songs while she was in “The Coast”. In Atlantida she continued this margin of creativity in a new way and a new style.
In April 2014 in Israel a desperate diagnosis was revealed to Sasha – terminal stage cancer. Her wealth was changing for the worse dramatically. From this moment the life of the band members changed extremely. Everything was dedicated to Sasha’s salvation. Sergey almost discontinued to be occupied with music – he spent practically all his time on finding the methods of medication and gathering money for this purpose.
n January 2014 Sasha felt ache in the lower part of her stomach. At the same time she felt general weakness and faced certain gynecological troubles that made her apply to Saint Petersburg hospital № 9. After 2 weeks of researches there were no results. The doctors discharged Alexandra from the hospital referring to her exhaustion. Besides, no oncological tests were taken. According to Sasha’s words, even the simplest tests for cancer-specific markers were not taken. At that time Sasha easily believed in such explanation by the doctors as indeed she went in for sports much and could overstrain herself. She continued to feel ache and her condition was getting worse. Sasha gradually was losing her weight. Despite her condition she continued to perform in a usual schedule, to teach vocal lessons and even attended trainings from time to time. However during the performances she was not as active as before and was dancing less and less. In April 2014 Atlantida Project set forward to the tour in Israel. Prior to the flight there had been several concerts in different cities: Moscow, Ivanovo, then Moscow again. Then the flight straightaway. It is hard to endure such time schedule even for a healthy person, though it’s not a rare thing for musicians. After arriving to Tel Aviv Sasha constantly was lying. There was such an impression that she couldn’t get over from the preceding tour and flight, several sleepless nights and tenacious Israel customs that had been examining Sasha for several hours without any reason, driving her to tears. The first concert took place on the eve of the Easter. The next day the guys all of a sudden found themselves in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. They prayed for the health of their relatives and for their own health. Though it didn’t help. 24 April 2014 Sasha came to the sound-check of the second concert in Tel Aviv with tears in her eyes and with an oversized stomach that was aching much. Sergey started to look for doctors, call hospitals and insurance companies. But everything was quite difficult. The guys faced many complexities. There was an impression that everybody was trying to get away with the problem. Hospitals demanded some documents from insurance companies who in their turn tried to escape expenditures. In two hours after Sasha came to the sound-check she was grimly determined to give a concert. She took anaesthetics and stomach medicine. Despite all the difficulties the concert was very energetic. However, Sasha felt worse after the concert and she went home at once. In the morning she was taken to the hospital. The whole next day and night diagnostics was being hold. Despite organization difficulties and unwillingness of the insurance company to pay the bills, doctors examined Sasha very carefully. In the beginning she was told about the terrible suspicion of cancer. But it was only a suspicion and no one wished to believe it. We needed additional tests. They cost a good deal of money and despite absolute lack of support from insurance company, the guys found ways to continue medical survey by themselves. After a while Sergey went to hospital without Sasha to know the results of the survey. It was only then when the whole truth was finally revealed. The dreadful news struck like electroshock: “Terminal stage cancer. She will live no longer than a month.” It was absolutely not clear what we should do next. We needed additional costly tests. Sergey went to Russia in search for funds. Many Israel friends stayed with Sasha. Also her boyfriend Dmitriy Mak set out to her. Upon his arrival to Russia the same day Sergey met all the members of the band and public relations manager – Praskovja Shishkoedova. The same evening the guys organized a fundraiser. The information was spread using all available resources. Many show business public figures disseminated the information by themselves. The strongest wave was evoked. Funds began to appear on the account. Meanwhile the medical testing was being held in Israel at the moment. Sasha was getting worse. Ascites (the liquid in the stomach) pressed the body organs with severe pain. She was losing weight right in front of your eyes. But at least she wouldn’t have to think about the funds on the treatment. The doctors couldn’t find the primary site of disease. The disease spread along all the abdominal membrane, metastases got through the lungs and underneath the collarbone. In a few days they evacuated Sasha ascetic fluid and she decided to do chemotherapy. The doctors didn’t predict any good. Neither Israel nor Russian ones. But Sergey and Sasha’s relatives continued to search for a way out. Israel doctors prescribed a scheme of 6 chemotherapies (one in three weeks). The singer wished to come back to the native land and there was no sense to stay in Israel more. Sasha with her friend Mak went to Russia. Further on events developed very quickly. All official doctors supported the scheme of treatment and on its completion offered to cut everything what was possible to live without. However nobody could guarantee anything after such operation. Rather on the contrary all the doctors told with one voice that she would live “maximum one year”.
For all that Sasha tried not to lose heart. One day she was sitting with Serezha in front of the cabinet of one of the well-known oncologist in an old rundown oncology hospital with peeling walls. There were many misfortune fellows around them, who were absolutely bold. Many of them were in wheelchairs. A feeling of horror and despair could be read in their eyes. Sasha began to do some yoga positions, and then she climbed onto a couch and pulled out a notebook. Thus the second verse of the song “The freezing breath”, that Sasha had begun to write shortly before the events, was born. This track was recorded literally in a week between the sessions of chemotherapy.
Sergey constantly kept searching. Besides medical treatment the guys recoursed to traditional practitioners, physic mediums and different shamans. But everything was in vain. Some of them told at once that cannot help, others applied to different practices that gave no result. There were such who plainly wished to earn money, saying that they would heal for three sessions. In a while the fortune connected Aleksandra with a medical scientist, a professor Sergey Borisovich Onikienko. He was the one from all the doctors who took a keen interest in her case. He told at once that the prescribed scheme was the standard one and it didn’t make good sense. Mr.Onikienko advised Sasha to set off for Germany to hyperthermia to professor called Herman. The same day Sergey contacted German scientist and the guys head for Munich. Professor Herman applies hyperthermia along with chemotherapy. He changed the treatment schedule prescribing his procedure along with every second chemotherapy. Meantime cancerous markers had been rising dramatically. Sasha suffered complications with her feet. She couldn’t walk. The same time efforts were made to raise funds for Sasha’s treatment. The situation was becoming louder. In June 2014 Masha Makarova (the band “Masha and bears”) got in touch. The girls decided to record the track together. Olga Arefjeva (the band “Ark”) was also penetrated with the situation. Vasja Vasin (the band “the bricks”) also responded. It seemed that all the music scene fought for Sasha’s treatment. Everyone on its own manner. Nearly that period the idea of the song “Iordan” was born, though the lyrics was written several months before that. Initially it was the long track with constantly repeated chorus. Sasha told that it was a mantra.
On the eve of the next trip to Germany the guys organized a concert, where many stars participated, such as: Masha Makarova, Vasja V., Theodor Bastard, Markscheider Kunst. Though the performance of Atlantida was still in question. But on coming upon the stage Sasha revived and practically refused to leave it. Sergey recalled after a while: “I was almost lacking work pieces on my laptop, but it was not possible to stop Sasha”. Just after the concert Sasha went to the procedures to Germany. She became considerably worse after them. Ascite begun to rise. She was losing protein. She was urgently evacuated liquid. The decision was taken to refuse of chemotherapy. She ceased to tolerate it. A question arose – what shall we do next? It was when the guys learned about oncolytic virus. Sergey contacted its researchers and Sasha decided to start the treatment of “Senday” virus. The treatment began to be effective. Sasha was getting better. She started to give performances and after a short while she could move around the city using municipal transport. There appeared more time and energy for creativity.
In November 2014 doctor Onikienko took a decision to change virus for “New Castle”. Such a decision was taken due to difficulties in supplies of “Senday” and also due to theoretic data of virus therapy. Sasha continued treatment. It seemed as if everything was going smooth and onward and upward. Sasha was getting better. Atlantida performed with increasing frequency. Sergey didn’t interfere with medicine and mostly made reports about the singer’s health in the internet. Sasha interacted with the doctor directly. In April 2015 the guys went to hold concerts in Penza and Saratov. Moving from place to place came at a price for Sasha and after a regular survey it turned out that cancerous marker began to rise again. Doctor Onikienko came to a decision to apply bacillar therapy (lipopolysaccharides). The procedure passed in a very difficult way. Afterwards Sasha told several times: “Polysaccharides broke me”. It’s difficult to say what the impulse was sure enough, but from that moment the regression began. Sasha was gradually getting worse again, but she continued to perform.
Cooperation with Noize MC
The guys got acquainted with Noize in Autumn 2014. In the period of stable remission. Sasha and Serezha were the fans of Vanya’s songs long ago and wished to cooperate with him. However, they couldn’t connect him for a long while. When finally they managed to do so, Noize reacted in a very positive way: “Guys, you just blew up my mind! I’m writing verses to “Iordan””. The arrangement to the song was ready long ago. We lacked verses. Noize started to write them. Besides them he added guitar solo and domra to the song. As a result there appeared two versions of the song. One was released by Noize in his Hard Reboot 3.0 Limited edition, the other – by Atlantida in their mini-album “Peace/World” (in Russian the word “Mir” has both meanings). In summer 2015 the music video for this song was shot. The film director was Anton Drozdov, who had already been working with Atlantida and made their first serious video for the song “The Mind” a few years before that.
Summer 2015 "Mir"
In May 2015 Atlantida released mini-album “Peace/World” (in Russian the word “Mir” has both meanings). On the one hand its release was provoked by the situation in the world, on the other hand it became some kind of energy expulsion of musicians in response for Sasha’s health. The album proved to be rather harsh and energetic by the sound. Famous musicians such as Vasja V.(song “Acid drops”) and Noize MC (song “Iordan”) took part in its recording. All the summer 2015 the guys performed at festivals, trying to find more favourable accommodation for Sasha. Mikhail Skurikhin began to perform as a bass-guitarist. Several years before that he took part in the band as sound producer at the concerts and in the studio.
Despite all the difficulties Sasha felt better on the stage and she always insisted on performances. Although they had to cancel several concerts. In August 2015 the band went on tour in Lithuania. The trip was quite hard. Sasha stopped walking again, was losing weight overnight, she was tortured by the strongest ache in the stomach. Ascite was rising. On his arrival doctor Onikienko started to apply emergency measures. They changes the virus again, started to hold powerful anti-inflammatory therapy in reply to rising peritonitis. All associates hoped that the situation was temporary. Doctor Onikienko look to the future in a positive way, seeing that cancerous markers descended. 27 August Atlantida Project organized a concert in cooperation with the band Hidden Tribe. Sergey wished to hold a special performance. Kirill Solovjev, the drummer, returned to the band and the harp-player Stanislava Mikhajlovskaja was invited specially to the event, who took several sequencer parts. Sergey tried not to disturb Sasha and they held rehearsals without her. It should have been the concert in the golden team of Atlantida. Yet Sasha’s condition was quite bad. And though she wished to perform, it was not clear up to the very last moment if she was capable to perform physically. She was grimly determined to come on the stage. Sasha performed in a wheelchair in a very bad condition. She could sing only a few tracks. But she needed that concert. At that moment nobody could imagine that it would be the last concert of Atlantida Project.
At some moment Sasha could not cope with things at home by herself. Sergey and her nearest friends were on duty in turns. The situation became strained; there were talks about the operation. It became impossible to withdraw ascite. There appeared adhesions in intestinal tract that prevented liquid to go out. She was tortured by the strongest ache that didn’t let her fell asleep and then forced her to stay in one position constantly. Thrombophlebitis in her right leg developed. Her friends tried to shake her up, but it was very challenging. Bloodcurdling ache didn’t let her even to unbend. 19 September 2015 she got an assault. The fluid lungs began. Vika, a close friend of Sasha together with Serezha literally pumped her off. The ambulance arrived, but they declined doing anything after they knew the basic diagnosis. They told that they can take her to the hospital but bearing in mind her diagnosis and in such a condition hardly anyone could do anything… They gave her oxygen and left. The guys were left alone. Vika was literally tearing Sasha from the clutch of the death. At the beginning the situation became stable, but Sasha was unconscious. The results of the survey showed that were no cancerous cells. Mr.Onikienko arrived several times a day trying to help. Somehow or other Sasha began to open her eyes, but 23 September the second assault happened. Doctor Onikienko stayed a whole day beside Sasha’s bed, trying to stop the assault. He went home late at night when the situation was stable somehow. Thought this stability was short enough. In the early morning a new assault happened. 24 September 2015, the birthday of Sergey Zyazin, Sasha died.
Aleksandra Sokolova was buried in necropolis of Komarovo village, beside to Sergey Kurekhin and Anna Ahmatova.