For one half of the 2Cellos duo there are only two kinds of music: good and bad.
Did you have a very traditional music education?
We had a classical music education. We studied, got Master’s degrees in classical music. We mostly listened to classical music for many, many years and then gradually we started expanding horizons and listening to other kinds of music like pop, rock and film music. All kinds of music. And then we wanted to experiment on our instruments – cello – and tried to do something with more variety, you know, tried to expand the possibilities of playing the cello.
I’m a cello player and classical musicians were our heroes at the time, but later on we started discovering other artists that we started looking up to. It’s a combination of all these artists that influence us.
You and Luka rose to prominence with your YouTube cover of Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal. Had you been experimenting with different genres before that?
Not really, no. This was the first experiment and it was so successful it changed our lives overnight.
Were you surprised by the video’s success?
We believed it was going to be a success, but we didn’t know it was going to happen so quickly. Suddenly everything was different in our lives.
What do you think it is about the video that people respond to?
I think it’s the passion and energy that they can feel. They were shocked by how powerful cello can sound – they didn’t know that. They all thought cello was a boring, classical instrument. But this proved it can be something so cool.
2Cellos: Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser, photo © Stephan Lupino
How important is it for you to embrace a range of different influences?
It’s crucial to just play different kinds of music, because if you limit yourself to only one kind, it’s a crime for the instrument. The instrument can make so many different sounds and effects and it can play so many different kinds of music – why play only one genre?
Is your musical taste similar to Luka’s?
It’s different, I think. I’m more rock ‘n’ roll and he’s a more classical guy, so it’s a perfect combination.
How do you choose your repertoire?
Each of us remembers some songs that we like and we try to work them out on the cello. The only criteria is that it sounds good on the cello – that’s it. We just love music in general. We enjoy playing equally classical or rock or pop – we don’t mind – we just put passion in anything we play. That’s the most important thing. I’m not really a fan of any particular kind of music – I divide it into two categories: good music or bad music.
You’ve been performing together for a number of years now, has your playing evolved over that time?
We just keep getting better every year because we play so many concerts – this is where you learn the most about how to perform in front of people.
Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser, photo © Stephan Lupino
Your third studio album, Celloverse, came out in 2015. What sets it apart from your previous albums?
In Celloverse we just did everything on a higher level. Our arrangements were more interesting, the production, the sound, the videos – everything was done with more care. The first album was done in a rush because we had just started out and we signed a deal and we needed to finish the album quickly. For the second album we had guests, featuring singers as well, so it was not really our album. In Celloverse we really take care of every note.
The Australian tour will culminate with a show in Sydney, for which you’ll be joined by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. What will be special about this concert?
For the concert with orchestra we’re going to play the programme for our new album, which is coming out next year. It’s film music – beautiful themes from famous movies. It’s something completely different, very romantic, mellow. But then the second half of the show we do rock, so it’s a great concert.
What music will be on the new album?
There is music from famous movies, like Gladiator, Titanic, Lord of the Rings, and we recorded it with the London Symphony Orchestra, which was amazing. They were incredibly – they recorded most of these original soundtracks. It’s something new, we’d never recorded anything with orchestra before so we are really excited about this album. I think it’s going to bring us an even wider audience.
In interviews you and Luka have mentioned that you like ACDC just as much as Bach – what do the two have in common?
Bach was the rock star of his own time, his music was not considered to be “classical” music. So there is no difference, actually – it’s only different now, a few hundred years later. But otherwise it’s all the same thing. Mozart was a rock star of his own time.
Will you be playing AC/DC in Australia?
We always play AC/DC anywhere we go, but in Australia it’s a special atmosphere because they are from there. They are one of my favourite bands, so it’s really exciting to do it in Australia.
2Cellos tour Australia from November 26 to December 4