Despite the busy tour schedule, composer and pianist virtuoso Eugene Khmara finds time for loved ones. As part of the Freedom to move project. Freedom to create, initiated by the Volvo brand, we managed to look behind the scenes of the artist’s life. In a Scandinavian photo story, Eugene talks about sources of inspiration, how the appearance of children influenced music and why his family has chosen Volvo for the 7th year.
Tell us about the values that are important to you?
Values are whales on which life rests. The principles that are associated with the laws of the universe. For example, there is the speed of light, and this is a constant. My principles are exactly the same: do not be fooled, do the right thing with people … After all, 100% boomerang exists. For me it is of great importance, both in life and in music.
What “whales” are the relations in your family based on?
First of all, it is a very strong mutual respect for each other. We spend a lot of time together: performances, trips, vacations. Going on vacation, we always go with the children. Children are a full part of our life, and we also relax with them.
The second value is freedom of choice. We are clearly aware that we are decorations for children. Every child is the center of his universe, and we give them the opportunity to choose. Similarly, in our relationship with each other. Thanks to freedom, we don’t want to do bad things, our relations are built on respect and trust.
What unites you with your wife Dasha?
Dasha and I have known each other since childhood. We have a very funny relationship story. We were close friends, but we never had anything more. We knew about each other’s relationships, we always consulted. And there was a moment, a “click” from above, when we realized that there can be no closer person than we are for each other. And so in the end we are together.
We are united by three things: trust, interests and music. Dasha sings, before that she was known as Daria Kovtun, but soon you will hear her as ODara. Now she is actively writing songs. Our daughter Vera became a real inspiration for her. With the birth of a child, words and music began to come to Dasha. I think that very soon everyone will be able to hear these beautiful songs in Ukrainian.
What family memories are most valuable to you?
When the first child appeared. It is clear that the birth of children is always unique. For us it was an absolutely deliberate step, we wanted it that way.
Another is the opportunity to be together. More recently, we were in Montenegro: Dasha, Kolya and our baby. This is an incredible feeling when we are all together, near, and not separately.
Of course, when children appear, then life changes. On the one hand, you have your life, your personal victories. And on the other hand, every little victory of your child is, of course, your victory too. Went, spoke, turned over.
How do you usually spend time with your family?
Recently, Dasha and I are very addicted to saversurfing (water sport – approx.ed.). We have to take turns riding, because someone has to sit with the children. We do without babysitters, sometimes parents help us. Why have a baby if he lives with a nanny?
I had a funny situation this morning. I went to the store for milk, the saleswoman said: "And we did not think that such famous people with their children spend their time!". At first it shocked me, and then I realized that there is such a model when children are brought up as nannies, and parents are just parents. And I am not against it. But Dasha and I are inclined to give children maximum attention, because it is very valuable, because they grow up so quickly. The eldest is almost 2.5 years old. I do not understand how everything went so quickly, where this time flies.
How does creativity affect your relationship?
We must pay tribute to Dasha. For example, when I have global preparation for concerts, I am very busy. And Dasha understands this. Creativity actually combines many factors. On the one hand – this is inspiration, on the other hand – a titanic work that you must do every day to achieve a certain result.
From the side it seems that, they say, what’s hard there: went out, played. In fact, every concert for me is a small life. And preparation for it lasts at least six months, everything is very serious.
Of course, creativity unites us: the songs that began to come to Dasha, they also have my part. In general, our global idea is to make a concert of the Khmara family. But at the same time, each of us is a full-fledged creative unit. I am Eugene Khmara, composer, pianist. Dasha – ОDara, singer.
Creativity helps a lot with kids. Sometimes we catch our son on the fact that he sings my instrumental music. Or sometimes I hear him sing something of his own. There is one tune that will probably go into my 6th album. I played a bass chord with my left hand on the piano, Kolya came and began to play a melody with his right hand. At the next concert in 2020, she will definitely be. Let's make the first duet of dad and son.
What is your source of inspiration?
In fact, there is no answer to this question. It is impossible to explain at what moments the music comes. Sometimes 15 songs can be written in a year, and sometimes one song will come in a maximum of six months to a year. A lot of music comes in a dream. I hear, wake up, play and sing to record it. Indeed, in order to enter the stream, it is important to master the craft. I hear music, and besides, immediately orchestrated, with drums and guitars.
When music comes, I clearly realize that this is part of the life experience that I went through. When I listen to my first album "Fairy Tale" (2013), I understand that childhood is there. So at that moment I was like that. And listening to the 5th album, which is being prepared for release, I understand that it is a balanced one. My music displays every period of my life. The 5th album is interesting in that it reflects the period of family life, just from the moment of the birth of Kolya's first son.
Have you changed after the birth of your first child?
What has changed is a fact, all people talk about it. They also say that my music has changed. You move up, and children give an understanding of the expansion of consciousness. You become more serious: decisions, actions, every word has consequences.
But I rejoice that I constantly feel young. There was lightness, not frivolity. We can say that these are the first steps of maturity.
How do you take care of your family?
One could say that care is manifested in providing for the family. But for me, caring is an opportunity to unload Dasha, pick up two children, and go for a walk with them. To make dinner … The desire to cook, by the way, also came with the advent of children. I used to be too lazy to even fry fried eggs (laughs). And now everything is different. These little things are my concern. The art of being in the moment when you are here and enjoy the journey from the path to the lofty goal. This is harmony.
What makes you happy?
These moments are actually millions. Starting from the ability to enjoy little things and ending with more global things. When you enjoy the fact that your dreams come true. Just recently my last dream came true – I became the owner of the Volvo XC90. I really dreamed about it, fell in love with this brand in 2012.
When I got my first car – the Volvo S60, it seemed to me that there couldn't be a prettier car. Until now, I believe that this is a very beautiful car. For 6 years, he never let me down. Active / passive safety systems helped: the machine itself can brake, in which case. But when you are confident in the car, you begin to look closely at this brand globally.
Was your plan to get behind the wheel of an SUV?
I never looked at the "jeep", because I did not understand why a big car in the city. But with the advent of the family, he began to look at it differently. Once at a service center I decided to sit in the Volvo XC90, and she sunk into my heart. A new dream has appeared.
I was attracted to the fact that Volvo has a soul. There are people who are looking for something spiritual, not in order to stand out, but in order to feel their involvement and understand that this thing is unique. Volvo is a niche and soulfulness that you don’t get in other cars. Volvo's sincerity for me is manifested in the quality of materials, uniqueness, individuality. In family values, which I fully share.
I understand that now young people are starting to dream about those things that they might not really want. Something becomes a dream just because it is popular. It makes me happy that my dreams are sincere.
What did you dream about as a child?
My love is aviation. In childhood, I reviewed and re-read everything. I even know how to fly a plane. It so happened that a couple of years ago I was supposed to voice the video for the Antonov company. And by a lucky chance, they put me behind an airplane simulator with a full-fledged cockpit. I took off, made a circle.
But it all started from childhood, when I sat on the balcony with a telescope, which my grandmother gave me, and watched the planes that landed at the airport. I knew the schedule, determined the model of the aircraft by sound, and still, when the plane flies, I raise my head and can not miss it.
Sitting at the controls of an airplane is a childhood dream, and thanks to the music, it has come true. Thanks to the music, I became the face of the Volvo brand. Music for me gives a lot of joy and happiness, this is the ability to speak. After all, I write instrumental music, it has no words, but information is embedded. All these things make me happy.
At the helm or behind the wheel – what is most important?
Volvo has been breaking templates lately, but they have left the most important thing – safety. This is a priority.
The car has a very convenient autopilot system, which is especially important when traveling long distances. It is clear that you are driving a car, but the car is essentially driving itself: it slows down, accelerates, turns … And you control. After long trips, you get out of the car and do not understand whether you were traveling on a train or driving. I used to get tired driving a lot more.
I urge all drivers to be safe on the road. First of all, include direction indicators, and respect each other. On a Volvo XC90 without indicators turned on, I will not change lanes, because the system will keep the car in the same lane. There is also a camera that reads all the signs and information is transmitted to the dashboard. Even if you missed a sign, it will appear on the screen.
Active headlights very much help at night. I am delighted with this technology, because the headlights turn clearly under the profile of the path. You can drive with high beams, but you will not dazzle drivers of oncoming vehicles. And, of course, Volvo, when it sees danger, slows down. Although I consider myself an experienced driver with over ten years of driving experience, Volvo is faster than me.
I predict that the next stage in the innovation of cars is that they will interact with each other in order to avoid collisions.
What would you like your children to inherit from you?
I definitely want them to inherit my music and the music of my wife. Creating music, I understand that I leave a mark and that my music is me. Therefore, listening to music, our children and great-grandchildren will be able to understand how we were.
The world is changing, and I do not always agree with what it offers. For example, many find it easier to sit on the phone than to meet in person. So the connection between people is lost. I want to convey family values to children. I want the Slavic roots that I hold on to be inherited by my children. I never wanted to leave our country, I want it to flourish. There were many offers to leave, but I do not want to. I see my mission here. And the point is not in what language you speak, in which part of the country you live, you just need to love your country, your family, your yard. And when you start small: with your family and yard, the whole country, the whole world, is changing.
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