Who-Is-She: Nastasia Matrokhina
We often talk about lifestyle. What can it be like? Why do we need it? Finally, what is its point in our daily life? All these questions are simply incorrect. Lifestyle unites our habits, traits of character, preferences, views and many other nouns alike. Today’s ’Who Is She’ column is dedicated to a person clued up in this subject more than any of us. Nastasia Matrokhina — the editor of SEASONS magazine, the most well-known lifestyle periodical in Russia — told us about her activity, the reasons of studying psychology and also about the way Valeriy Leontiev’s songs help to finish an issue of the magazine and send it to the printing house.
— When did journalism begin for you?
— Journalism seems to have begun for me before my birth. My mother wanted to become a journalist, but her parents were against it, so she had to study for an economist. When I was in the 9th grade, I had to choose my future profession, and my mother advised me to try my hand at journalism. At that time I imagined this sphere to be closely related to NTV channel, which used to be not as horrible as it is now. I attended the children’s club via our local newspaper, but was quickly disappointed with it and claimed I would never get involved into journalism, whether it be job or hobby. After this I began to get education in the sphere of international political science and was nearly about to apply to the same faculty in the Higher School of Economics. However the lucky concourse of circumstances took me to see the presentation of the faculty of Business and Political journalism, and I fell in love with it at once. Without a moment’s hesitation I understood I should study right there and become a journalist. A but later I had tgee time of disappointment in my profession, when I had two ways of my future career before me: either working in a newspaper like Kommersant and get dressed down, roughly speaking, or trying my strength at fashion magazines, which I wanted least of all. The situation in the Russian press market was exactly like that 5 or 7 years ago.
— How did you find yourself in Seasons magazine and what are your tasks there?
— In the summer of 2009 my mother advised me to attend the summer festival by Seasons called ’A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ which took place in the Hermitage Garden in Moscow.At the festival I realized how similar everything that surrounded me was to my tastes and views and decided I had to do my best to become a part of the magazine’s team. For the whole evening I was deep in my thoughts about the ways to carry this out, but soon forgot about my plans. A bit later I attended a class of the ’School for dummies’, in which the violinist Mikhail Kazinik participated, and it was at that very time I felt real ardour and enthusiasm to write a letter to the editorial. Surprisingly, the answer didn’t take long. I was invited for an interview in the Independent Media which at that time hosted under it’s roof the Seasons’ editorial as well as dozens of others appreciated by me — Esquire, Vedomosti, Harper’s Bazaar etc. After a talk with Olga Sergeeva, the editor-in-chief, I understood this place was full of people similar to me, with kindred spirits. As a result, I was given the position of the School For Dummies assistant supervisor. In a year, when I got back from my summer holidays, I was offered the position of an editor. At that moment my career of the writing person in Seasons began for me.
— We know Seasons to be not only a magazine but a bunch of various projects. Could you tell our readers about them?
— First of all, Seasons is a magazine. Everything we know about Seasons was born out of the mag. The first Russian issue was published in 2003 as our version of the Dutch magazine of the same name, but soon enough these two editions stopped having anything in common except their name. From the first day of it’s existence, Olga Sergeeva is the Head and Editor-in-Chief of Seasons Project. Till 2009 Seasons was the part of the Independent Media publishing house followed by the editorial’s moving to the design factory Flacon. Besides the printed edition we are organizing 4 festivals — the Christmas Fair in winter, the Subbotnik fair in spring, the More Snore music festival in summer and the theme festival in autumn — as well as the Seasons School, combining entertainment and education: lectures, seminars, cooking, literature and photo workshops, drama schools — everything you wish. We opened a project called Mother’s Garden recently designed for combined education of children and their parents. In future we are going to develop this project and to launch a network of such centres in different parts of Moscow. Also, we publish a guide to our capital called ’The Warm Map of Moscow’ together with Volkswagen, and soon there’s going to be the second issue of it.
I’d also like to tell you about our distribution network which constitutes a separate project. We try to sell our issues in collaboration with various restaurants, bars, cafés and cinemas — places similar to us stylistically. Due to such alternative distribution network you can find our magazine in Rostov-On-Son, Sidhu, Odessa, Kiev, Saint-Petersburg and many other cities — their list is published on our website and is being actively filled with new names.
— What are your professional and creative ambitions at the moment?
— This question has been torturing me all the last year. However, I can confidently say that all my professional interests lay within Seasons Project. It’s main value is the way it helps you explore and express yourself. For instance, having no experience and knowledge in the technical structure of websites, I am reconstructing the Seasons’ one, aiming to make it user-friendly, constantly updated and profitable, which is also important. Still, the main point is that it should be read by others and developed regularly. This is my goal at this moment. What follows? Perhaps, some new direction of my work in Seasons emerges, in which I’m going to dive. I’m still into music. There was a time when I worked with Jenia Lubich and her band — this was extremely interesting, but it proved to be impossible to combine this thing with my main work. I was the band manager and helped in organizing live shows. Due to this collaboration with Jenia, I got acquainted with Boris Balsamic, with whom we have friendly relationships. He helps Seasons to prepare for music festivals. I also have a dream of opening my own bar which is going to offer simple and plain drinks like wine, beer, whiskey, cognac and no cocktails.
— As far as we know, you are getting additional education at the moment. Tell us where you are studying and what is the point of it, please.
— Once I was offered to attend a programme called ’Applied psychology in business’. The official name sounds differently, I assume, but I call it like that. The classes take place in the Genesis Practic education centre under MSU by a yearly programme. We began with listening to basic lectures on general psychology read by MSU professors, and now we’re discussing narrow subjects like psychology of negotiations or various styles of management. All in all it covers 81 classes. But really, I would like to thank Genesis for giving their students very moderate and balanced doses of psychology and business. It helps to reconsider your daily life and find solutions to different problems.
— Describe one of your days at the editorial.
— We have to determine the kind of day since the day we finish the issue and the day we don’t differ a lot.
— Alright, as we assume, the day you finish the issue and send it to the printshop is the most interesting and funny one in the whole month?
— Right, and this ’day’ lasts for nearly 3 weeks. All our team includes numerous creative and emotional people, that’s why everything often changes at the last moment. There were times when I stayed in the office for many nights with no sleep, but fortunately no such situations occur now. I think I’ve grown up somehow professionally and can plan my performance schedule, making it more humane. I come to the office at 12 or 13 in the afternoon and leave it at 8 or 9 in the evening except those days when I have to attend my classes at Genesis — then I finish my work at 6 pm. My working day consisits of editing and writing texts, connecting designers and attending business meetings. Nothing special. Nevertheless we have our own little traditions — without them we couldn’t imagine our life in the editorial. For example, we can’t finish the issue until we have listened Valery Leontiev’s song ’Deltaplane’.
— And how many times during your work in Seasons you’ve listened to ’Deltaplane’?
— This questions baffles me! If we listen to it 7 times at one go, it makes a great number of repeats. You know, there is something special in old songs for each of us. Listening to Radiohead live in Berlin, I realized there wasn’t a single of my favourite songs down the setlist. It happened because old songs of this band are my favourite, and all the new things they played didn’t catch me.
— Where do you find your inspiration to work and to create?
— In everything, I think. I have a friend, Stefan, we got acquainted during Seasons’ business trip to Sweden. He is a trend expert traveling across the planet and collecting the freshest fashion and style trends. Last year Stefan visited our spring Subbotnik, and in one of our conversations he said he was going to return to Stockholm and then leave for Shanghai, Bangkok, Israel etc. When I asked if he had time to have a rest, he answered all his work is his source of energy and inspiration, At that moment I realized I experience the same situation and share his feelings.
— Which Russian periodicals you could recommend to your friends? Besides Seasons, of course.
— Speaking of newspapers — Kommersant and Vedomosti, though I don’t read them myself: I’ve had enough of them during my studies at HSE. I’ll never forget those huge ’blankets’ with pages blackening fingers. I can also get Bolshoy Gorod in a cafe or restaurant and read it in the underground — no longer. The same — with Afisha. Among fashion magazines I consider Harper’s Bazaar to be the most outstanding, it resembles European magazines most of all. Russian VOGUE’s activity after Alyona Doletskaya is vulgar. Considering online magazines — I read The Village with great pleasure.
— The happiest monent in your life?
— I could name four of them: the day I entered HSE, the day the Istanbul issue was published, Radiohead gig in Berlin and Zemfira’s one in Olimpiyskiy.
— What would you like to change in yourself?
— I’d like to stop being late.
— What do you like in yourself?
— Everything, except I’m always late.
— The place where you feel best?
— My home, my bed. Wherever my friends are.
— With whom of the living people you would like to get acquainted?
— With Thom Yorke and Justin Timberlake, the latter is more of a child’s dream.
— The country you’ve never been to, but would like to visit?
— USA, and New York in particular.
— As a child, who did you want to become?
— A good person.
— Your favourite writers?
— Brodsky, Fitzgerald, Beigbeder, Chekhov, Kafka.
— Which qualities do you appreciate in men?
— Manners and sense of humour.
— Tea or chicory?
— Anything but chicory!