Those of you who’ve bought a copy of Elska Magazine may be wondering what that list of songs is on the last page of each issue. That’s the “Elska Mixtape”. On that page you can also scan the QR code to go directly to the playlist on Spotify and listen to the music as you read Elska.
I’m very driven by music. I’m the sort of guy who hears a stranger whisper a jingle from a Hot Pockets commercial and get the song stuck in my head all day. I don’t really want to be doing a shoot with that sort of rubbish in my head, and the only way to exorcise one tune is to replace it with another. So it’s out of a desire for inspiration and as a defense against musical parasites that I make a mixtape of assorted songs I actually like. These are the songs that I’m listening to over and over on my headphones in the weeks leading up to the magazine shoots, and during those sessions as well.
Each editorial, or “chapter”, in Elska Magazine has its title taken from one of the songs on the mixtape. It was a line that jumped out at me while listening to the song and which inspired the mood, setting, subject choice, etc. for the shoot. So without further ado, here are the songs I listened to during the making of Elska Magazine Issue (01) Lviv, aka the Elska Mixtape Lviv…
1) WHEN IT ALL FALLS, WHEN IT ALL FALLS DOWN – from “Ghosttown”, Madonna
I used this to shoot Marko K at an abandoned factory complex on the edge of Lviv city centre.
2) NOT IN CONTROL, MY BODY AND SOUL IN TWO PARTS – from “The Criminal”, Asbjørn
I intended at first to do something graphical to more literally reflect the “in two parts” line, but it conflicted with my urge to present Ivan T naturally, and he’s a guy that deserves to be seen just as he is.
3) LORSQUE JE N’SERAI PLUS BELLE OU DU MOINS AU NATUREL – from “Tous les mêmes”, Stromae
Sasha K is such a gorgeous young guy that it made me wonder how he’d look in twenty or thirty years, if he’d still be beautiful; or if after a lifetime of being admired for his beauty, he’d go the botox route.
4) YES HE IS VERY GOOD LOOKING; THE ONLY TROUBLE IS HE’S NOT YOU – from “You’re the One”, Kate Bush
Sometimes you connect with someone, you feel like you should fall for them… until you realise how much you love the partner you already have and then you understand why those feelings aren’t there.
5) JAG KUNDE BLI NÅGOT STORT, SÅ BLÅS EN KYSS OCH FYLL MIN KVOT – from “Ismael”, Kent
I barely know Swedish, but I’m a huge fan of Kent, who sing almost exclusively in Swedish. To me, this line “so blow us a kiss and fill my quota” made me think of Nikita G, the most classically pretty guy in this issue (in my opinion) whose beauty is like an elixir to revive an ugly day.
6) WILL YOU BE MY COMFORT? OR WE CAN JUST LEAVE IT HERE – from “Recover”, CHVRCHES
This was another case of connecting with someone, but without going too far. You get a brief flash of temptation, and then you set it aside.
7) A BUTCHER WITH A SMILE, CUT ME FARTHER THAN I’VE EVER BEEN – from “Tear in my Heart”, Twenty One Pilots
It’s a great line, and the cheeky grins of Semen M perfectly matched the sentiment.
8) I WILL LET YOU GO IF YOU WILL LET SOMEBODY LOVE YOU LIKE I DO – from “Want it Back”, Amanda Palmer
I was in the Danish shop Tiger, listening to this song when the line jumped our at me just as there was a roll of ribbon in front of me. So I bought it, and Dima S became the “victim”.
9) I STILL DREAM OF ALGERNON – from “Cloudbusting”, Kate Bush
Yes, another Kate Bush song. I’m not even a superfan, I was just feeling her at the time. This song with the Algernon line was saved for the bookish Taras D.
10) THE SUN DOESN’T SHINE DOWN HERE, IN SHADOW – from “Plants and Rags”, PJ Harvey
A late addition to the mixtape, added only hours after I shot Vyacheslav K… simply because the plants I shot him with made me think of this song with “plants” in the title.
11) EVEN WITH NO LIGHT, WE’RE GONNA SHINE LIKE GOLD – from “Ghosttown”, Madonna
The same Madonna song had two lines jump out at me, so I had to include it twice… but you only need to listen once!
12) EVERYTHING WE TOUCH, IT TURN TURNS TO GOLD – from “Northern Lights”, Kate Boy
I wanted to use this line for ages, but it was only when I met Oleg B that it finally felt right.
13) I ONLY WANNA DIE ALIVE – from “Break Free”, Ariana Grande
When Ivan T. took an impromptu waltz into the fountain in front of the Lviv Opera House, I was filled with the sort of rush that makes you want to dance like no one’s watching… just like this song does.
14) СЕРЦЮ ДУЖЕ ХОТІЛОСЬ ЛЮБОВІ, AЛЕ ТІЛУ ХОТІЛОСЬ ГРІХА – from “Meine Liebe”, TIK
The title, which translated as something like “My heart wanted to love but my body so wanted to sin” felt right when Sasha K decided at the last minute that he’d like to go naked for a few more shots at home.
To listen to the Elska Mixtape Lviv now, click here: https://play.spotify.com/user/1176599543/playlist/2hPm95Ed3Qlip8BcL5C1pz
And to buy Elska Magazine Issue (01) Lviv, or to subscribe, visit www.elskamagazine.com and order there or visit one of the shops around the world that stock us.